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The Wall Township High School administration has zeroed in on its next head football coach, and it is a name that will be very familiar to followers of Shore Conference football.

Wall is expected to hire former Manalapan head coach and Shore Conference Hall of Famer Ed Gurrieri on Tuesday night, according to the agenda for the February 15 Wall Township Board of Education meeting. Gurrieri had a long and successful run leading Manalapan's football program, which won a state sectional title in 2014 and was a fixture in the Shore Conference Top 10. If approved by the board of education, Gurrieri would replace Tony Grandinetti, who was not rehired after five seasons.

Photo by Bill Normile.
Photo by Bill Normile.
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Wall decided to move on from Grandinetti stemming from the well-publicized hazing scandal that has enveloped the football program, school, and community since accusations first came to light in November. Grandinetti was one of three Wall football coaches, plus with school's athletic director, who were suspended in the wake of the investigation.

Grandinetti was hired as Wall's head coach prior to the 2017 season after previously serving as the team's offensive line coach. He went 36-14 in five seasons, including leading Wall to a 12-1 season and the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 championship in 2019. In 2020, Wall went 7-0, won the unofficial Shore Conference title, and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the state by NJ.com.

But this season, allegations of hazing and potential criminal activity prompted an investigation and forced the cancelation of the remainder of the team's season following a first-round playoff victory. That also included the cancelation of the annual Thanksgiving gave vs. Manasquan.

Charges have since been filed against an unspecified number of students.

The Wall Township Board of Education officially opened its search for a head football coach on Jan. 22 with a job posting that read:

"Wall High School is a highly rated public high school with approximately 1000 students.  Located in southern Monmouth County, the school is easily accessible by the Garden State Parkway, I-195/138, Route 18, and Route 35.  Wall High School seeks an experienced Head Varsity Football Coach to build upon a history of success."

Gurrieri fits that bill perfectly. He was Manalapan’s head coach for a total of 13 years across two stints, including 10 straight years from 2010 through the 2019 season. His teams never had a losing season and only went 5-5 once, which came during his first year as head coach in 2004. He posted a 109-35 career record with the Braves, good for a .757 winning percentage. The Braves posted double-digit wins in six seasons, including four straight from 2011 to 2014, and won five Shore Conference Class A North division titles, including five in a row from 2010 to 2014.

Manalapan reached six NJSIAA state sectional championship games under Gurrieri, including four in a row from 2011 to 2014. The Braves finally reached the summit in 2014 when they defeated playoff nemesis South Brunswick, 21-7 at Rutgers University, to claim the Central Jersey Group 5 championship and give the program its first sectional title.

In 2011, Gurrieri was selected as the conference Coach of the Year by the Shore Conference Football Coaches Association, and in 2014 was selected as Central Jersey Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association.

Prior to coming to Manalapan, Gurrieri was the offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Susan Wagner High School on Staten Island, which was one of the premier programs in New York City. Susan Wagner won six NYC championships in a 10-year span, had a 48-game winning streak and was ranked 17th in the nation by USA Today.

From 1985 to 1987, Gurrieri coached the running backs at his collegiate alma mater, Wagner College.

He was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2019 at halftime of the Shore Sports Network All-Shore Gridiron Classic.

A native of Staten Island, Gurrieri was a three-year starter as a running back at Susan Wagner High School where he achieved First Team All-Staten Island and First Team All-New York City honors. He started his collegiate career at Northeastern University before returning home and playing at Wagner College where he was a two-year starter.

Gurrieri graduated from Wagner College in 1983 and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Special Education. He was a high school teacher at Susan Wagner High School before joining the New York Police Department, serving on the force from 1986 to 1993. He retired with a line-of-duty injury and, following his resignation as head football coach at Manalapan, continued as a security officer at Manalapan High School.

Gurrieri was also heavily involved with the NYPD football team as a starting fullback from 1988-1999 and as the team’s offensive coordinator from 1990-1996.

The Asbury Park Press was the first to report Gurrier's appearance on the board agenda.

 

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