Tom Tarver Out as Donovan Catholic Head Football Coach
The 2016 season was the first and only for Tarver at the Toms River school as he replaced Dan Duddy, who resigned after 10 seasons. Tarver had previously been the head coach at Manalapan from 2000-2003 and led the Braves to the Central Jersey Group IV championship game in 2003. He is currently an assistant principal at Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Jackson.
Tarver sent out a pair of scathing tweets blasting the administration for the manner in which he was dismissed.
He spoke with Shore Sports Network by phone to further detail his issues that stemmed from his control over the strength and conditioning program. He said he was not granted access to the weight room or control over the team's strength and conditioning program.
"Donovan Catholic hired a football coach and gave him zero support from beginning to end," Tarver said. "I didn't say I needed a brand new weight room. I didn't say I needed $50,000 in editing equipment. I just wanted the key to the weight room and a strength and conditioning program I can control, and I was told no."
"We weren't allowed to use the weight room and couldn't do lifts specific for football. We were basically handcuffed. I was told we had to do a certain program and that was not a program for football. As we went through the season we were a very weak team, not strong, and that is a direct correlation between not being able to work out. We went 0-10 and got pushed around. We're playing football and you need to lift a certain way to compete with your opponents. We had some parents donating barbells and we had to lift outside on the track to do what we needed to do. It was just a bad situation and no one did anything about it."
Donovan Catholic athletic director Joe Gomulka said strength and conditioning coach Mark Deppen, who is the head coach of the Griffins' state champion power lifting team, handles the strength and conditioning for all sports.
"(Control of the weight room) was one of the issues, and ironically we have a strength and conditioning person who controls that," Gomulka said. "But there were other things. We couldn't let this go on for another year. We decided it was in our best interest to move in another direction."
Gomulka also said Tarver's position at McAuliffe where the school day ends at 2:27 was a hinderance.
"He comes to school late in the day and practice is at a later time, and we thought we had it worked out but it didn't work out," Gomulka said. "I wish him the best. I like him but for us it wasn't going to be good for another year."
Tarver was a star quarterback for Jackson Memorial as a three-year starter during the 1984-1986 seasons. He went 32-7 as a starer for the Jaguars, including leading Jackson to an 8-1 record and the No. 1 ranking in the Shore Conference in 1985. He was a first-team All-Ocean County and first-team All-Shore selection in both his junior and senior seasons, and also earned second-team All-State honors in each season.
Tarver was a scholarship player at Rutgers where he was a two-year starter. He was named the Scarlet Knights’ starting quarterback in 1990, and finished his career with 3,607 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Gomulka said the school will work quickly to find its next coach.
"We'll try to find someone who can steer the ship for now and see what we have in house, and from that point make a decision," Gomulka said. "We won't let this linger."
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.