SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic has made two tremendous additions to bolster its coaching staff by hiring Tim Mooney as an assistant cross-country coach, and UC graduate Jackie Dyer as an assistant girls basketball coach, UC Athletic Director Dace Luciano recently announced.
Both coaches come to UC with outstanding resumes.
During a coaching career that has spanned five decades at Ridge, Mooney, a multiple State Coach of the Year, built the Red Devils into one of the state's premier girls cross-country and track and field programs in the state.
Dyer, a 2001 graduate of UC, will be reunited with her high school basketball coach at UC, Ms. Kathy Matthews. Dyer established herself as one of the best coaches in Union County during her 13-year run as head girls basketball coach at Cranford.
Mr. Luciano is thrilled to have Mooney and Dyer join the UC coaching staff.
"Tim and Jackie bring tremendous experience to the Union Catholic coaching staff,'' said Luciano. "They both have great character and I'm looking forward to them working with our Student Athletes. Tim is battle tested after 30 plus years of coaching. He has seen it all and, in my opinion, it is crucial to have someone like this on our staff. Jackie is a product of the Union Catholic program. Over the years, we have been very proud of her successes as a Head Coach, and it is my pleasure to welcome her back home to her alma mater.''
Mooney, a graduate of Edison High School (1983) and Rutgers University ('87), led the Ridge girls cross-country teams to its first two N.J. Meet of Champions titles in school history (2015 and '16), three Group 4 XC titles, and eight sectional championships.
On the track, Mooney's girls teams at Ridge won two national indoor titles in the 4x800-meter relay, and ran their streak to nine straight N.J. Meet of Champions titles in the 4x800 relay when it captured its fourth straight indoor title this past March. Ridge has also won the last five 4x800 crowns at the outdoor M of C.
Ridge has also won a state record tying nine indoor sectional titles, including seven in a row, and two state indoor relay titles. Outdoors, Mooney's teams have captured six sectional track and field titles, and one State Group 4 Championship.
Mooney said he's always had a great relationship with Mike McCabe, UC's head cross-country and track and field coach.
"I've known Mike for a while, and we always talk at meets, so when this opportunity came up to coach with him at UC I felt like it was a good fit for me,'' said Mooney. "They have a real good cross-country program at UC, and I feel like I have a lot to offer to make it even stronger. I want to help UC get medals at the Meet of Champions. I can't wait to get started doing what I love to do. I'm very excited about working with Mike and his teams at UC.''
McCabe is ecstatic to have Mooney join his coaching staff.
"Coach Mooney is a great addition to our cross-country staff,'' said McCabe, who led the UC girls to the Union County Cross-Country Championship and a runner-up finish at the Non-Public A State Championships last fall. "His success and vast experience as a coach will be a major asset to our team.''
Dyer comes back to UC after a remarkable 13-year run as head coach of the girls basketball team at Cranford.
During her time at Cranford, Dyer racked up 196 wins to make her the winningest girls basketball coach in school history, led the Cougars to the 2016 Union County Championship (its second county crown in school history), and she captured two North Jersey, Sec. 2 Group 3 titles (2010 and 2013). Dyer also coached Cranford's junior varsity team to the 2006 JV county title, the same year that the Cranford girls varsity won its first county title under coach Brian Chapman, a 1987 graduate of Union Catholic.
Dyer was named the Union County Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in 2009 and '16, coached three 1,000-point scorers, and had seven players go on to play college ball.
During her playing days for Coach Matthews at UC, Dyer helped lead the Vikings to its last Union County Championship in 2001, and played on the team that gave Coach Matthews the 500th victory of her legendary career.
Dyer is elated to join Coach Matthews on the UC staff.
"Anyone who knows me as a coach knows that I attribute a great deal of my coaching success to Coach Matthews,'' said Dyer, who graduated from the University of Hartford in Connecticut. "Some of my greatest memories have come from playing for her. I was a member of her 2001 County Championship Team, which I won alongside my younger sister, Lauren. I was a senior and she was a freshman. It couldn't have worked out any better. I was also a captain for her and was there to help win and celebrate her 500th win. She always instilled in us the importance of playing hard, tough defense, and that is something I always carried on year after year with all of my teams. It has always been a dream of mine to go back to where I came from, to where it all started for me, and I am beyond excited and grateful that I have been given the opportunity to do so.''
Coach Matthews, who became just the fourth girls basketball coach in state history to surpass 700 wins in 2017, had high praise for Dyer, and loves what she brings to the UC girls basketball program.
"When I found out Jackie was available, I got in contact with her right away,'' said Coach Matthews, who guided the Vikings to a 19-6 record and a share of the Mountain Division championship last year. "Jackie has always been a Lady Viking, and I'll always remember her team concept as a player. She was always all about the team. Jackie has won championships as a player and a coach, and I'm excited to have her on the staff. Words just can't describe how happy I am. This is win-win all around.''