Dowling Re-Hired/Ardizzone Official at AP

Posted by Scott Stump –


Matt Ardizzone officially was approved as the new Asbury Park head coach on Wednesday night as expected, so there were no surprises there, and I think the Asbury Park administration did the right thing there. I think the best thing for that program is continuity, something that has been a hurdle at Asbury Park over the years. They clearly have a great thing going after winning three straight Central Jersey Group I titles, and Ardizzone and the rest of the staff under Don Sofilkanich were a big part of that. Ardizzone also has a year of being a head coach under his belt from the one season before Sofilkanich arrived. Ardizzone also is comfortably in place, whereas when he came to Asbury Park in 2006, he was hired two days before the season started after former coach Joe Stinson was not brought back in controversial fashion.

The main difference is that Ardizzone is a little quieter, whereas Sofilkanich, who is now the head coach at rival Neptune, is a forceful personality, but it’s not like a difference in demeanor means a different game plan. Ardizzone ran some of the most high-powered offenses in the Shore the last three years and will try to continue that despite losing several stars at the skill positions to graduation. The talent well is certainly not dry at Asbury Park, however.

As for Brick head coach Patrick Dowling, he was rehired as the coach at the Brick Board of Education meeting on Thursday night, where he was up as up to be rehired, as a non-tenured teacher and the coach, after being approved as the football coach before last season over the objections of legendary coach Warren Wolf, who had stepped down after 51 seasons as the program’s only head coach. Wolf successfully ran for a seat on the Board of Ed recently and it was thought that Dowling’s return was in jeopardy as a result of that, but he has been re-hired as football coach after going 4-6 in his first season replacing Wolf.

Rarely is reporting that someone has been rehired a story, but with all the controversy that has gone on in the last year, it was not a given, especially with Wolf now on the Board. The speculation was that Dowling would be ousted, but it’s good to see that politics did not get in the way. Dowling now will continue the challenge of bringing a once perennial playoff team back to the postseason and making an impact. They will certainly have that opportunity as they are part of the newly created Class B South, where they should be competitive immediately in a division where Lacey is the clear favorite but after that it’s a fre-for-all. Is this finally the end of this talk about Dowling and that head coaching spot or just the latest round? I guess we’ll find out next May.


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