SOMERVILLE, NJ -- Mike Columbo, a familiar name to those who follow New Jersey High school football, will serve as the new head football coach at Immaculata High School. He replaces Tom Falato, who has retired from that position.

Columbo is a Special Education teacher at Delaware Valley High School, specializing in Math, Social Studies, and English, according to Immaculata’s Athletic Director Tom Gambino, who made the announcement.

The new coach has served 12 years as head football coach at Delaware Valley, where his teams had a 78-45 record, making it the top winning percentage in school history.  Multiple winner of the Hunterdon County Coach of the Year Award, over his career he was also the winner of three different newspapers’ Coach of the Year Awards.  He led his team to two Central Jersey Group II semi-finals and one final.

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In addition, he has served as an assistant offensive coach at Kean University and Lafayette College.  Previously, Columbo was a head coach at Summit High School and Manchester High School, where he also served as a teacher.  Early in his career, he was an assistant coach at Whippany Park and Bloomfield High Schools.

“Coach Columbo will be a great voice for Immaculata,” Gambino said. “A teacher for 28 years, he has embraced the concept that student athletes are students first.  Accountability in the classroom is of the utmost importance to him.  What also impressed the search committee was his experience as a head coach and assistant college coach, as well as his strong emphasis on discipline and organization.”

A graduate of Southern Connecticut State College, where he played football for four years, Columbo earned several athletic honors including All-New England; All-ECAC; Walter Camp Division II All-American Team; New Haven Gridiron Club Player of the Year and Team Captain.  He also has the honor of being named to the college’s Wall of Fame, as well as Newark’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Columbo, a resident of Clinton, is thrilled with his new position. As a high school teacher and former college coach, Columbo has a strong understanding of the role that academics plays on the gridiron.

“Our football staff’s number one goal will be to make the players be the best they can be, not just on the field, but in the classroom.  Having been a teacher, I can more easily connect with the classroom teachers to help a struggling student.  As an assistant on the college level, I know what is required academically of a student athlete and that the key to success is often strong study skills acquired in high school.”

A Seton Hall Prep graduate, Columbo feels spirituality is important in developing these young men for the future. “We will run our program incorporating Immaculata’s pillars of faith and service, along with scholarship and friendship. The faith aspect is a component of the highly esteemed tradition of Immaculata.  Our team’s job is to live up to that tradition, follow the mold set by legendary Coach Frauenheim, and build upon it.”