WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School head football coach Jim DeSarno learned this week that he has been named coach of the year by the New Jersey Coaches Association and Sectional Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“I’m very humbled but excited. Also, very happy,” DeSarno said. “I’m very appreciative — not the most comfortable with awards like this — but I just know that from a lot of hard work and from a great coaching staff and awesome kids and a real strong group of parents, that these things come your way.”
The Blue Devils have not lost a game in two seasons en route to two consecutive North 2, Group 5 State Championships. During that stretch they had a 25-game winning streak that is tops in the state. The team has tied or broken 20 school records in the last two seasons playing as well as any Westfield team since the legendary squads of the 1970’s.
Before the start of the 2015 season, DeSarno said he felt confident that he had a good team, and they delivered a state championship for him. Repeating, though, is never easy at any level and especially in New Jersey high school football.
“Going into this past season I wasn’t quite sure that we could live up to the year before,” DeSarno said, “but I knew that we would be okay and we got better and better as the year went on, and that’s a really good sign.”
After 11 years at Westfield, DeSarno has amassed an 81-36 record after coaching the previous five years at Kinnelon High School in Morris County. In addition to the two state championships, he brought three division titles to the school.
DeSarno will accept his award at the Super 100 Banquet in March sponsored by the State Coaches Association. He will be honored along with two of his players at the banquet, Owen Kessler, a senior defensive end and Jack Shirk, a senior split end.
“I always felt that this was a good group, a really strong group, that we would have success,” said DeSarno, talking about this two-year run. “But I never expected this much success.”
A frequent contributor to TAPinto Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder/director of Throwback Sports (a sports program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.