By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Speculation about Rich Ward’s coaching future began to fly immediately after he departed Marlboro in January.
Would he take a year off?
Would he seek out another head coaching job?
Would he land at a school as an assistant, perhaps with one of Marlboro’s rivals?
For Ward, a lot of options were on the table, but taking a sabbatical was never contemplated.
“Taking a year off was never an option,” said Ward, now a defensive assistant coach at New Jersey power Don Bosco Prep, an all-boys’ Catholic school located in Ramsey, N.J. “Football is my passion. I looked at this as one door closes and another one opens. I’m excited to coach at the highest level and to compete at the highest level. I want to work hard and help make Don Bosco better.”
Don Bosco is coming off of a 2-8 season, but has a storied history. The Ironmen have won 15 state championships and two national titles (2009 and 2011). Mike Teel, a former star quarterback at Don Bosco, now coaches the team. He went 23-0 as a starter for the Ironmen (2002-03) and went on to play at Rutgers. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, but didn’t last in the NFL.
“It’s an honor to coach at Don Bosco, which has so much tradition,” Ward said. “It’s special. The coaches have an incredible work ethic and have been very respectful to me. We have a lot of work to do, but we want to return the program to the powerhouse it once was.”
Ward said that he talked to several Section 9 schools about coaching positions, including Cornwall. Ward served as the Green Dragons’ defensive coordinator in 2006 when they reached the Class A state championship game.
“I did inquire with (Cornwall coach) Mike Connolly and (Cornwall athletic director) Mike Kroemer about coaching, but they told me that there were no positions at the present time,” Ward said. “I wish them nothing but the best.”
Marlboro superintendent Michael Brooks informed Ward in January that he would not be recommended for the position for the 2018 season due to a heated text message between the fiery coach and a parent. Ward went 74-13 in eight seasons at Marlboro, leading the Iron Dukes to six Section 9 Class B championships (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017). Before Ward’s tenure, the Iron Dukes had never won a Section 9 title.
Asked if he wants to be a head coach again in the future, Ward said: “I’m not saying yes or no. I leave every window open. Right now, my focus is helping Don Bosco be the best it can be.”
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