MILFORD, NJ - John "Johnny" Del Duca was honored at the annual Berkeley Heights P.A.L. Golf Tournament held on July 15 at Oak Hill Golf Club in Milford for his years of commitment to the organization. Because of his work throughout the years, P.A.L. Directors voted to rename the golf event “The John Del Duca Berkeley Heights P.A.L. Golf Tournament.”
Many former players, fellow coaches and family were on hand to honor Del Duca, as well as continue their support to the girls and boys of Berkeley Heights.
The plaque reads, "This plaque serves to recognize the longstanding efforts of John Del Duca, in the betterment of the Berkeley Heights P.A.L. in his decades of service as coach, mentor and president John has devoted countless hours toward the goal of developing fine young women and men through relationship between athletics and the Berkeley Heights Police Department. His leadership has been instrumental in the continuing success of the P.A.L. and on behalf of the youth of Township of Berkeley Heights, we honor him today."
Del Duca started his participation in the Berkeley Heights Police Athletic League in 1954 as a youth baseball player. After joining the Berkeley Heights Police Department, Del Duca was recruited by his cousin Ralph Del Duca [future Police Chief and, at that time, current P.A.L. President] to coach Berkeley Heights youngsters. Baseball was the only sponsored sport at the time but soon Del Duca would also coach football and later, wrestling.
In the mid 1970s, Del Duca took over as President, a position he held for approximately 25 years. He guided the P.A.L. through some financially “lean” years but always made sure that any child that wanted to participate could do so. Throughout his tenure, the program grew to where there is now approximately fifteen sports. He paved the way for programs early on for young girls and steadfastly insisted on the inclusion of women on the Board of Directors.
The Berkeley Heights P.A.L. is a sustainable organization now mostly through the efforts of its Annual Golf Tournament - which Del Duca initiated. It allows volunteers like Del Duca to continuously extend athletic programs to the youth of Berkeley Heights.