On June 10, 2013, the following coaches will be honored by the Greater Middlesex Conference for their service to the league:
Mike Kushner – Carteret
Mike Kushner has been an assistant football and baseball coach within Middlesex County for 43 years. Thirty-three of these years have been at Carteret High School. Mike has also taught in the Carteret School District for his entire career. He has been a part of three Central Jersey Gr. II State Championships in football during the 1992, 1996, and 2012 seasons and has been a part of a Central Jersey Group II State Championship in baseball in 1988, and an overall Group II State Championship in 1990, the only one in school history. Mike is a dedicated coach and well respected throughout the GMC. He is happily married to Eva Kushner and enjoys spending his little spare time down the Jersey Shore.
Eva Kushner – Carteret
Eva Kushner has been a part of the Carteret Tennis program for the past 31 years, serving as head coach of the boys’ team for 11 years and 20 as the girls mentor. Throughout her career, Eva has amassed over 250 total victories and has been named GMC Coach of the Year four times. Eva has also dedicated her time as the advisor to the Carteret Play it Smart Program and can always be seen around officiating a track meet throughout the GMC and state. Eva is married to Mike and enjoys spending her summers at the Jersey Shore.
Tony Palombo – JFK
Tony Palombo has coached girls Soccer and bowling at Bishop Ahr High School and bowling and golf at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. He has 25 years of coaching experience that combined adds up to 62 seasons of coaching with 48 of those season as a head coach. He has won 13 Division Championships, two Conference Championships and four State Championships. He has been named Division Coach of the Year 15 times, GMC Coach of the Year eight times, Star Ledger once and Home News Tribune four times. He is a member of the NJSCA Hall of Fame, has served on the NJSIAA Executive Committee and as the Bowling Individual Tournament of Champions meet director. He has over 560 career bowling victories and more than 175 golf victories.
Ken Graf – Metuchen
Soccer at Metuchen High School would not exist today if not for the efforts of Ken Graf. He is the founder of the sport at the school and has been the coach for the past 41 years. His first two years he was the assistant and has been the head for the past 39 years. During his time as head coach, his teams have won over 400 games including two County Championships and six Sectional Championships. It is not the wins that stand out in our minds though it is Ken’s love of the game and the dedication he brings to the table. After 41 years he greets each new season as his first and his enthusiasm is contagious. He also coaches club teams during the year sharing his love of the sport with the youth of Metuchen. In his classroom like any outstanding coach Mr. Graf is also a motivating teacher as is evidence by him winning the New Jersey Teacher of the Year Award this year.
Brother Richard Leven – St. Joseph’s
Brother Richard will begin his 39th year of coaching the freshman cross country team this fall. During his four years as varsity coach (1976-79) he won two Parochial “A” State Championships; spring Parochial “A” in 1976 and indoor Parochial “A” in 1977. Brother was inducted into Saint Joseph’s Hall of Fame in 2001. During his term as varsity and freshman coach he had a combination of 27 County & NJ Catholic Team Titles. During His 35 years as freshman coach his dual meet record was 168-16. Going back to 1967, Brother had nine freshman cross country runners finish in 1st place at the New Jersey Catholic Freshman Championship Meet. Each season Brother tries to motivate his incoming freshman cross country team with one simple phrase; “train for a purpose.”
Al Ernst – St. Joseph’s
Coach Ernst has been the head field events coach at St. Joseph’s for the past 41 years. He has trained three Eastern State Champions, 27 NJSIAA Group Meet Champions, 23 Middlesex County Champions, 21 Catholic Track Conference Champions and one NJSIAA Meet of Champion.
Rich Marchesi – South River
Coach Marchesi has been the head coach of the South River Football Team for 26 years. Prior to being the head coach, he was an assistant coach for five years, making his total years coaching at South River 31 years. He has led the Rams to the playoffs 20 times, the finals 10 times, and has four State Championships under his belt. Coach Marchesi is also a graduate of South River High School and played on the 1977 & 1978 Championship Teams.
Michael Lepore – South River
Coach Michael Lepore has been the head baseball coach for the last 17 years at South River. Before taking the helm of the Rams program he was an assistant with the team for one. His teams have made it to the playoffs eight times and to the finals once. He has also been an assistant football coach for 18 years, and was part of three State Championships. He was also an assistant girls basketball coach at South River for five years.
Eric Clays – South River
Coach Eric Clays has been the head soccer coach at South River High School for the last 15 years, and was an assistant soccer coach for six before that. As head Coach he has led his team to the playoffs every year and holds five State Championships. Coach Clays was South River’s head girls varsity coach for three years making it to the semifinals in his second year. He has also been an assistant girls coach for 17 years. This year he has taken on the role of head boys tennis coach.