UNION, NJ - When you walked into the Wrestling Regionals at Union High School there were three things you could always count on: Frank Sinatra music, the voice of Union, David Arminio, and Jack Debarbieri getting wrestling mats out and organizing just about everything.
Debarbieri began his career at Kawameeh Middle School in 1974 and for forty-four years was an instructor in physical education. He was a longtime football coach for the high school football team and the Union High School wrestling team. Debarbieri was also part of the team that established “Family Fitness Night” at Kawameeh.
A dedication ceremony of the Kawameeh Middle School gymnasium took place Tuesday in honor of Jack Debarbieri, followed by the “Family Fitness Night”.
Welcoming an auditorium full of Debarbieri’s greatest fans, Arminio began by stating, “because Jack was always punctual we will begin on time. That’s the way he would want it.” Current Kawameeh principal, Jason Malanda shared fond memories about Debarbieri both as his former wrestling coach at Union High School and as a physical education teacher at Kawameeh.
Sue Lorenzo spoke about having the pleasure of working with Jack since 1984, and now works with his son Dan Debarbieri who is currently a physical education teacher at Kawameeh.
Superintendent Gregory Tatum and former superintendent Dr. Theodore Jakubowski presented a plaque for the Kawameeh gymnasium, donated by the Wrestling Club of Union, to Debarbieri’s daughter, Jackie Debarbieri-Carloni.
Dr. Jakubowski reminisced about what a great friend, coach and teacher Debarbieri was. Also in attendance was Harold Bell, former Kawameeh Middle School principal, who shared memories of what a by-the-book teacher Debarbieri was, what a loyal friend and a great coach and mentor to Union’s youth. He said Debarbieri was a jack of all trades and made an amazing blueberry pie.
Speaking on behalf of her brothers and sisters, Debarbieri-Carloni said they were extremely grateful for the honoring of their father.