WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - The sudden loss of Wood-Ridge girls basketball coach Lou Wejnert to a heart attack has sent a shock through the Wood-Ridge community, as well as the Bergen County coaching community.
Below are reactions from coaches and players on Wejnert’s untimely passing.
James Maher, Wood-Ridge Boys Basketball coach.
“Coach Wejnert was just a good guy, plain and simple. I didn’t know him for long, but he just had a presence about him that made you feel like you did. Obviously he’s one of the greatest coaches in Bergen County history, but there was never a cockiness to him, just a hard-nosed coach that loved coaching and always got the best out of his team. We as a basketball program, school, and community will miss him dearly."
Jerry Cala, Wood-Ridge Girls soccer coach
"I was absolutely devastated when I first heard the news of Coach Wejnert's untimely passing. My relationship with him was very special as well as very unique. We not only coached a girls varsity sport at the same school, but we coached many of the same players. In addition, Coach Wejnert also coached my daughter. I know and saw first hand what an impact he had on the girls, in particular, my own daughter. Lou was a larger than life character. His dedication and passion to the girls was second to none. I, along with the WRHS community, will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time."
Natalie Cala, Wood-Ridge girls basketball player
“Coach Wejnert was one of the best coaches I have ever played for but aside from that he was the most dedicated, compassionate, and inspiring man I’ve ever met. I remember the day that I met Coach. We were sitting in the auditorium and just after 5 minutes of talking to him I knew that this season was going to be the best. This did in fact hold true, I had the best junior season. I learned so much from Coach, but the one thing that I can take away from this season is that he instilled confidence in me. He knew what I was capable of doing, and he didn’t let me forget it. I can still hear him saying, “You got it sista” as I walked out of practice. I personally got along with Coach very well, and we had a lot of good banter because we had the same sense of humor. I am going to work extra hard to make my senior year the best because I know he would have wanted nothing less. He will forever be an inspiration to me and I thank him for everything he has helped me to accomplish. He most definitely will not be forgotten by me or the rest of our Blue Devil family."
Stan Fryczyski, Executive Director of the NJIC
"Lou was a great guy. I have known him a good many years. He truly was a devoted coach and an ambassador of the game. On behalf of the NJIC, I wish to express our deepest sympathy to all of his family. We also extend that sympathy to his basketball family past and present"
Charlie Trentacosti, Wood-Ridge Football Coach
Coach Wejnert was a class man. He came in here and fit right in. He was a coach’s coach that you could learn from. He built up the kids and earned their respect as well as ours as coaches. He was a family man and cared for the kids he was coaching, he will be missed. My sympathies to his wife and family. He will be a Blue Devil forever.
Joe Calvano, Sports Director, A-Flight Sports
Lou was a great friend and business associate with me at A-Flight Sports where we ran softball and basketball leagues since 1980. We officiated many high level basketball and softball games together over this 40-year period. He was godfather to my middle son Andrew and a friend to my entire family along with Maryann his beloved wife. Falling short by 17 wins to reach his 500 win milestone should be marked as 500 wins with an asterisk because he would have achieved it this upcoming season.
All officials in North Jersey mourn his loss.
Joseph Sutera, Wood-Ridge Junior/Senior High School Principal
"Coach Wejnert did things the right way. His impact on our student athletes extended far beyond the classroom. He taught our student athletes life lessons as much as he did basketball. A great educator, coach and man, he will be missed."
Editor's Note: The article was updated to include a comment from WRHS principal Joseph Sutera.
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