Former Arthur L. Johnson High School football coach Nick Gregorio has been hired as the new head coach of Wall High School, school officials announced Wednesday.
Gregorio was not rehired by Johnson around this time last year, a decision that had many parents and students upset. Gregorio went on to serve as offensive line coach at Kean University. In June, adminstrators announced that assistant coach Mike Mancino would take over for Gregorio.
Gregorio was hired Tuesday by the district and is expected to be introduced to the football team today, school Athletic Director Tom Ridoux said.
Gregorio will take over for former head coach Chris Barnes, who resigned as head coach in February after 12 years coaching Wall football to spend more time with his family, Ridoux said.
Ridoux said the district searched long and hard to find a replacement for Barnes and that Gregorio was chosen from a field of 40 applicants.
Gregorio, 32, has 10 years coaching experience split evenly between college and high school programs. A New Providence native, he played football for New Providence High School before playing college football at Montclair State. He later received his Masters in Education from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
“We’re excited about Coach Gregorio,’’ Ridoux said. “He holds two master’s degrees and is a nationally certified strength and conditioning coach. We were really impressed with his passion for football and for kids. He brings a lot of great potential to keep a strong football tradition alive here at Wall High School.’’
Gregorio, who is finishing up his obligations at Kean and is expected to begin coaching at Wall in the summer, will be paid a stipend of $10,430 for his coaching duties, Ridoux said.
Gregorio has master’s degrees in physical education and health sciences. He was a former Montclair State football lineman and All-American shot-putter, Ridoux said.
Gregorio was also a graduate assistant coach at Springfield College and spent three years as an assistant coach at Basking Ridge High School before a three-year stint as head coach at Arthur L. Johnson. He is currently in his second stint with Kean, coaching the team's offensive line, Ridoux said.
“He was the guy we were most impressed with,’’ Ridoux said. “His coaching philosophy is very similar to Barnes’s and we think he’ll be a great fit for the program here.’’
He has big shoes to fill.
Barnes last year led the Crimson Knights to a record of 8-2 and a Class C Central title won by beating rival Manasquan on Thanksgiving Day.
Wall reached the state playoffs in nine of Barnes' 12 seasons and won the 2002 Central Jersey Group III title. Barnes' record was 90-38 in his stint as head coach.