Dan George Goes Out A Winner In Final Game As Long Branch Head Football Coach

LONG BRANCH - Dan George had just been presented the Ty Lewis Trophy, which goes to the winner of the Long Branch-Red Bank Regional Thanksgiving Day football game when he finally admitted a new chapter in his life had begun.

George's 23-season tenure as Long Branch High School's head football coach and 33-season coaching career ended with the Green Wave's 29-14 win Thursday at Bresett Stadium in the 98th renewal of one of the state's oldest rivalries. He officially became a retired coach when the final whistle blew.

"Looking through the stands, packed house. Two of my favorite places I've been during my career. (George was an assistant coach for eight seasons at Red Bank and is a graduate of Long Branch). The two longest places I've been during my career. The relationships you make, it's just incredible. So many people came by to say hi. So many texts. "It just kind of hit me. It's like, 'It's over.'''

"You try to play tough and try to put it all in the rear view mirror and put it in compartments. But, this was overwhelming, being on Thanksgiving Day, which is all about family. When you think of coaching, you think of family. There's no other way to put it.''

George, who was presented with a plaque commemorating his career by Long Branch athletic director Jason Corley during a halftime ceremony, had one of the Shore's legendary multi-sport coaching careers.

Including the two seasons he was Ocean Township's head football coach before he became the head coach at his alma mater, George's football teams won 168 games (152 at Long Branch), three NJSIAA sectional championships (all at Long Branch), the 2018 South Group 4 Regional title and seven Shore Conference divisional championships.

George also had an outstanding career as a head wrestling coach - 22 at Long Branch and eight at Red Bank.

His wrestling teams won 447 matches (384 at Long Branch), which is second on the Shore Conference's all-time list behind Howell head coach John Gagliano, who has 500.

Long Branch won three straight NJSIAA Group 2 championships from 2008-2010, with the 2009 team being universally recognized as the No. 1 team in New Jersey. The Green Wave won six NJSIAA sectional titles, three consecutive Shore Conference Tournament championships from 2008-2010 and seven NJSIAA district team titles.

George announced his retirement as wrestling coach last spring. He also had a long stint as Long Branch's track and field coach before retiring from that position several years ago.

Related: 'It's time': Long Branch's Dan George ending coaching career on Thanksgiving

"What a positive influence he's been on hundreds and hundreds of student athletes in the Shore Conference during a very distinguished career,'' Red Bank head coach Shane Fallon said during the Ty Lewis Trophy ceremony. "I'm honored to call him my friend. I'm honored to have learned a lot from him coaching and how he goes about things.''

It was fitting George's coaching career ended with the Long Branch-Red Bank game. The rivalry has been in his blood since he grew up watching the game. He played in the game and coached in the game from both sides.

Honoring Ty Lewis' memory with the trophy is very important to George. Lewis, who died in 1990 at the age of 41 after a battle with leukemia, was one of the Shore's first Black head coaches. He played at Red Bank and was a head coach at first Howell and then Red Bank. George began his coaching career as an assistant coach to Lewis at Red Bank.

"He embodied what great coaches are,'' George said during the post-game ceremony. "He embodied doing special things for others. He's what we all can become.''

The lessons he learned from Lewis are what George has preached to every team he has coached.

Long Branch head football coach Dan George walks off the field for the last time after the Green Wave's 29-14 win over Red Bank Regional Thursday in his final game as its head coach.
Long Branch head football coach Dan George walks off the field for the last time after the Green Wave's 29-14 win over Red Bank Regional Thursday in his final game as its head coach.

"Playing for coach George has meant everything,'' said Long Branch senior quarterback/safety Christian Rodriguez, who threw two touchdown passes, including the go-ahead 25-yarder to Sekou Kamau with 7:27 remaining. "All he wanted us to do is be the best man we can be, play football as hard as we can and do it as one - as a family.''

George's final team, which led by Rodriguez went 8-2 and won the Shore Conference Freedom Division championship, meant things had gone full circle for him.

Rodriguez's uncle, Dave, was the quarterback for George's first Long Branch team in 1999, which won the Central Group 3 championship with a win at Neptune's Memorial Field that ended the Scarlet Fliers' 33-game home field winning streak.

"I coached Christian's cousin Jordan Rodriguez, and his uncle (Francisco Rodriguez) is the superintendent here. It's gone full cycle with the Rodriguez's,'' George said.

Long Branch's Christian Rodriguez pulls Red Bank Regional's Gus Dal Pra along as he pick up some yardage Thursday, November 25, 2021.
Long Branch's Christian Rodriguez pulls Red Bank Regional's Gus Dal Pra along as he pick up some yardage Thursday, November 25, 2021.

George, who was always thinking about what duty would come next as a head coach, whether it was football, wrestling or track, knows he will miss it. Practice for wrestling season has begun with his nephew Billy George taking over as Long Branch's head coach.

There are no plans to coach again, George said.

"I'm in a position where I'm able to sit back and go to games and go to matches and hopefully watch the kids I had an impact on take the next generation of Green Wave wrestling and Green Wave football,'' George said.

Long Branch Head Football coach Dan George leads his team to shake hands with Red Bank Regional players after their Thanksgiving Day Rivalry game Thursday, November 25, 2021.  His team had just defeated Red Bank Regional in their Thanksgiving Day Rivalry game.
Long Branch Head Football coach Dan George leads his team to shake hands with Red Bank Regional players after their Thanksgiving Day Rivalry game Thursday, November 25, 2021. His team had just defeated Red Bank Regional in their Thanksgiving Day Rivalry game.

George has been consistent with his belief that now is the right time for him to take a step back in his life.

"I know I'm in a great place. I know it's time,'' George said. "It's sinking in that it (being a head coach) is not going to happen again. It's been a wonderful ride.''

Long Branch 29,

Red Bank 14

Red Bank 0 7 0 7 - 14

Long Branch 7 7 0 15 - 29

First Quarter

LB: Sekou Kamau 58 run (Wesley Garcia kick).

Second Quarter

LB: Jayden Farmer 9 pass from Christian Rodriguez (Garcia kick).

RB: Matt Dengler 26 pass from Pierce Olsen (GianCarlo Dautaj kick).

Fourth Quarter

RB: Ky'Yam Martin 24 pass from Olsen (Dautaj kick).

LB: Kamau 25 pass from Rodriguez (Garcia kick).

LB: Shamar Williams 25 interception return (Shamar Williams pass from Rodriguez).

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: RB: Gunnar Eckerstrom 8-59, Lamar Hicks 7-13, Cian Curylo 1-6, Gus Dal Pra 3-0, Pierce Olsen 6-(-8). LB: Sekou Kamau 15-160, Zaheem Brown 7-71, Christian Rodriguez 7-1.

PASSING: RB: Olsen 10-20-3-109. Hicks 2-3-0-33, Dal Pra 0-1-0-0. LB: Rodriguez 10-14-1-104.

RECEIVING: RB: Ky'Yam Martin 6-67, Dengler 2-31, Eckerstrom 2-22, Dal Pra 2-22. LB: Michael Hall 4-43, Kamau 2-40, Ka'Jion Thorne 2-13, Jayden Farmer 2-8,

INTERCEPTIONS: RB: Sean Masonius. LB: Shamar Williams 2, Ka'Von Williams.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Dan George ends Long Branch football career with win over Red Bank

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/dan-george-goes-winner-final-201450132.html

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