Panuska Will Always Be Brick “Green Dragon” Royalty
Pete Panuska has spent more time at 346 Chambers Bridge Road in Brick than any other place during his adult years outside of his own home. That by the way is the address for Brick Township High School and when Pete leaves there on Friday it will be for the last time…at least in official capacity. Panuska is retiring as the Green Dragons athletic director, a position he has held since 2017. It will mark the end of his career in education which began in 1994 but let me back track a bit.
I first met Pete in the fall of 1979 when I had just started working at WOBM. I was at a Brick football game and a friend of Coach Wolf’s by the name of Buck Baretelli, who was himself an outstanding athlete took me aside and told me that the young man wearing #21 was going to be special. By the way every conversation I had with Buck over the years always included him speaking about “Peter”…it was never Pete.
Well he was special. An All-State running back, standout in track, scholastic Athlete of the Year who could pick just about any college he wanted. What he wanted was the University of Tennessee where he would trade in all his Brick green for Volunteer orange. His career was one most would trade for….five bowl games, a Sun Bowl record for the longest kickoff return in history, an SEC Championship in 1995 and inclusion on the Academic All-SEC Team. Pete majored in Tourism, Food & Lodging and used his degree first in Knoxville and later back at the Jersey Shore.
Panuska would decide to get a teaching degree and spend the first part of his career working with Special Education students at Vets Middle School and jumped into coaching football and track and field. After obtaining his Masters he became an Assistant Principal at Brick Memorial before assuming the same position at his alma mater and finally settling into the role as Athletic Director.
Of course there is much more to the story. Pete and Lori have been married for almost 27 years and have a daughter Kylee who graduated from the University of Delaware and a son Ryan who will graduate from Brick this June and head to school in Florida. By the way Pete still looks like he’d be good for about 10 carries a game.
Pete Panuska is a true Green Dragon legend…excuse me that’s Peter Panuska.