RAHWAY, NJ—On the evening of Friday, March 5, Rahway High School’s head basketball coach, Jeff Lubreski, reached a milestone few others ever achieve. With a final score of 79-47 over Roselle, Lubreski secured his 500th career victory.
Lubreski, a high school English teacher at Rahway’s Alternative Center for Education (ACE), has been a member of the teaching staff since the 2015-2016 school year and began coaching the team that same year for the 2016 season. He began his coaching career in South Plainfield, then moved on to Plainfield. He accumulated the final victories he needed to reach the magic number of 500 over the past six years he has been in Rahway. As an added bonus, the feat was accomplished at home, on Senior Night, an event senior student athletes cherish and look forward to throughout their high school careers. Some of those senior players included Mekhi McFadden, Amari Thompson, Nasir Arribas, Leon Lawson, Josian Cid, and Ernest Carter.
Roselle Mayor Donald Shaw said, "Coach Smith was more than a coach to his players; he was a mentor and father figure to many. He provided spiritual guidance and structure with a firm hand, challenging his players to be respectable young men on and off the court. I am honored that my son played under him. He served the Roselle community well, and I wish him the best in his retirement."
As a teacher and coach, Lubreski has been a mentor and inspiration to many. Senior Amari Thompson remarked, “I would have to say that I appreciate every moment I had with Coach Lubreski. He turned me from a boy into a strong young man, helped shape my game, and made me become a better person with his guidance and advice. I am forever grateful to have been coached by him.”
Of his career and accomplishments, Lubreski expressed trademark gratitude and humility, saying, “I am very fortunate to have coached so many talented players throughout my career. This year was no exception. Our seniors led us to victory tonight in appropriate fashion on this Senior Night celebration.” He also noted that he is excited to continue coaching in Rahway and is “optimistic about the future of Rahway basketball.”
Lubreski’s milestone also happened to coincide with another noteworthy moment, this from the opposing team. Longtime Roselle coach Michael Smith concluded his final game that same night.
Dr. Cary Fields, principal of Rahway High School, who is from Roselle and previously worked in the district with Smith, was in attendance and said, “Last night’s game was special for many. It was Rahway’s Senior Night, a 500th career win for Coach Lubreski, and it was the final game for Coach Mike Smith of Roselle, with whom I had the pleasure of working previously.”
Though one team had to emerge victorious at the other’s expense, it was no doubt, all in all, a special evening for two great basketball programs and two great communities.