RANDOLPH, NJ- A familiar face will man the sidelines for the Randolph Rams football team in the fall of 2017, providing stability to a program shaken by the unexpected departure of head coach Tarig Holman.
Mike Lyons, RHS freshman football coach for the past 30 years, received resounding applause when he was appointed interim head coach at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night.
“In 1987, Randolph was here for me when I needed work, and I am now here for them when they need me,” said Lyons while addressing the board. “The people I have worked for have taught me well, and I could not be more excited about this opportunity.”
Holman appeared to be leaving the program back in April when he declined to accept the job for the 2017 season, but after negotiations with administration and an outcry of support from players and parents, he agreed to stay. However, things took a sudden and unexpected turn once again on July 13 when Holman was hired by Neptune High School to coach their football team in the fall of 2017, and he subsequently resigned from Randolph.
Since Lyons has already coached most of the kids during their freshman seasons, his appointment should bring comfort and familiarity to a team that was stunned to learn they suddenly were without a coach right before the start of the season.
“I would like to publicly thank you for the work that you have done with our football program for all these years,” said Superintendent Jen Fano. “I also want to mention that I didn’t feel you needed any formal introduction since you are so well spoken of at so many events.”
Lyons has also been a varsity assistant for many years, and most recently headed up the programs special teams units for the past three years.
Lyons has also known many of his players from as far back as 6th grade, as he is a Health, Wellness, and Physical Education teacher at Randolph Middle School.
“I want to thank Jeff DiLollo ( RHS Athletic Director ) and Marybeth Foran ( Assistant AD ) for their confidence in me for this position,” said Lyons. “I am very excited and invigorated by this opportunity, and I want to thank you all very, very much.”
Board of Education President Al Matos opened the meeting by expressing his feelings about the departure of Holman, stating, “The board had worked hard to keep this coach here, and our efforts were successful until we learned that he had taken another coaching position at another high school.”
Matos continued, “I, (and many of you), was disappointed that coach decided to not meet his commitment to stay. We had large support for the coach, and were saddened that while we were making progress, we were surprised by this turn of events.”