Paterson Top Stories

After 300 Victories, Kennedy Coach Ring Still Building For The Future

e6da25017200e973b9f0_coachring.jpg
Ring (in red) during a timeout during game against Eastside last year
e6da25017200e973b9f0_coachring.jpg

PATERSON, NJ - James Ring wishes his head coaching career at Kennedy High never began. Sure, the 16 successful season and more than 300 wins as head coach of the Knights basketball team have been great. But Ring says he wishes he were still an assistant coach to his mentor Tyrone Collins.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I would have been very happy right now starting my 35th year as his assistant, because that would have meant he still would have been here," Ring told PatersonPress.com shortly after he passed the 300-win milestone this season.
In 1996, Ring took over the head coaching job just two months after Collins died in a tragic accident at his home in Wayne.  Ring said that Collins was probably the best coach in the program's history, and definitely its best player.
 
"That's not debatable... He put Kennedy on the map.  As a player, he was the first All-American to come out of Kennedy High School," Ring said.
 

If Collins put Kennedy on the map, Ring has kept it there. 
 
Ring's success goes beyond county championships and 20-win seasons. He also made a mark on the players and earned a reputation as a coach who cared just as much about his players' performance on the court as he did about their lives off the court.
 
Michael Cleaves, who played for Ring from 1998 to 2000, said Ring was more of a "father coach" or an "off-the-court coach" and said the two consider each other family.
 
"I call him my white father, he calls me his black son," said Cleaves, adding that Ring had taught his older siblings and coached his brother before him.
 
James Hargrove, who played for Ring when he was still an assistant coach in the 1980's said he was proud to be a part of Ring's legacy and grateful for the coach's guidance.

"Coach was a good coach.  He taught me more about life itself, with basketball.  That's why I really appreciate being coached under him when I was young," said Hargrove.
 
Ring grew up in Edgewater, NJ and went to high school at St. Joseph's in West New York, where he played guard.  He went on to study mathematics at Montclair State University, but credits a basketball class and its teacher Ollie Gelsten, with making him the coach he is today.
 
Ring said that Gelsten, who also coached the school's basketball team, gave the class an open invitation to sit in on the team's practices.
 
"I was able to pick up an awful lot of stuff from just sitting there and watching him.  He was one of the greats at Montclair State and he just had a way of motivating and getting kids to play at their maximum," he said.
 
When he graduated from Montclair State, Ring went straight into teaching mathematics at Kennedy.  He started teaching around the same time as Collins, and was part of Collins' coaching staff from the very beginning, when he took over as head coach in 1977.
 
And 19 years later, Ring said he had no choice but to take the reigns of the squad following the head coach's tragic death.
 
"That first season, we endured simply because there was no other choice but to.  I can't say enough about that class that year," adding that team marked a change in the landscape of Paterson basketball.
 
The Knights won their first game under Ring's leadership, defeating St. Joseph's of Montvale.  But that was only the beginning. Following the graduation of Paterson Catholic phenom Tim Thomas, Ring says the city's most talented players no longer passed over Kennedy to play for Paterson Catholic, sparking a new era and a new rivalry for the program.
 
As the team returned to its "winning ways," Ring made his mark on the program, leading them to three consecutive county championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000.  
 
After 300 wins and a litany of county and sectional championships spanning three decades, many head coaches would be ready to retire, but not Ring.  The coach says he sees great potential in his current squad, particularly the freshman class. Ring said he expects "very very good things from them in the next couple years."
 
"To have two freshman on our varsity squad, that's probably the first time that we've had that since the early 90s."
 
Ring, who lives in North Haledon, continues to teach, though no longer at Kennedy High.  He was transferred to the Sports Business Academy at the beginning of this school year.
 
Ring said he's had some very memorable victories in the 300+ he's racked up so far, including a memorable double-overtime defeat of cross-town rival Eastside High to make it into the 1998 county finals.  But that's not all he remembers.
 
"Just like any other coach, if you ask me which games I remember, I'll remember the losses more than I'll remember the wins."

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_efec3d39ddc6008dd11e_4a256201-8c0a-450c-b62e-8a761d6f5b83

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...