With news of fellow coaches and former coworkers share their thoughts on what it was like to work with him.
John Liberato, Head Football Coach, Summit High School: “I think Nick is an awesome guy who does a great job. After just two years at Clark, I thought he did a very decent job. He made the playoffs his first year and went 5-and-5 this year. The best game of year was when he played against us in that one-point game. I don’t know the circumstances, but you don’t like to hear about anyone not being rehired. I definitely think he has a long career ahead of him."
Gregorio got to know Liberato when he was the assistant coach at New Providence, once telling the Star-Ledger he considers Liberato a mentor and modeled his program after Summit’s.
Dan Garrett, Head Football Coach, Kean University: "When I talked to Nick last night, I was absolutely shocked. I would never in a million years have guessed that he was calling to tell me he wasn't rehired.
Nick was my assistant running back coach and I also coached him at Montclair State. I knew I wanted a guy like him because he was loyal, trustworthy, and always had great attention to detail. He'd be there early, do the extra work and soak up information like a sponge.
I’m still in shock. I saw a couple high school coaches at the Ty Lewis Coaches Clinic tonight at Manasquan High School, and 'shocked' is the word that keeps coming up when we talk about this.
Nick’s a very personable young man, he carries himself well, he knows football, knows the game and he has a great heart. I can’t imagine him having any problems getting a coaching job, but in this economy, finding a teaching job in Phys Ed. might be a challenge. I'm hopeful football will open doors for him."
Tom Falato, Assistant Football Coach, Bergen Catholic High School: "I first coached with Nick when I was head coach at Ridge, and he was a young coach just coming out of Springfield College. He did a terrific job for us. He was totally organized and related well to the kids. And he was a great help to me, that’s for sure."
Frank Bottone, recently retired longtime New Providence football head coach (who coached Gregorio during his tenure): "I just don’t understand how they could let a guy like that go,” Bottone said. “He’s a first class person, a gentleman and a great coach. And the kids love him from what I hear."
Regarding whether or not Gregorio was interested in applying for Bottone’s job when he retired this year, Bottone said, “If he was interested, it was because I had said I would like someone who had played and worked in New Providence to get my job. But everyone looks around and applies other places. Principals do that. Every profession does it. I don’t know why they would hold that against him.”
As to Gregorio’s future, Bottone says he’ll be just fine. “If I was still coaching, I would grab him in a minute. He was a teacher at Ridge, which is one of the best schools around. As a coach, he’s tops as far as I’m concerned, and he’ll get picked up right away. It's Johnson's loss, that's for sure."