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Adam Baeira’s passion for football leads to successful coaching career

Called by his junior football coach “Bear” one day, the nickname stuck with him ever since then.  Adam Baeira displayed that tenacity when he reached Fair Lawn High School playing football and wrestling. Baeira was injured playing football in eight grade after going against his parents’ wishes.  Due to the severity of the injury, Baeira had to wait until his senior year to return to the gridiron.

“I had some great memories growing up and playing in Fair Lawn,” said Baeira. “We were a tight knit group that always hung out together and think it’s important for any team during the football season and often translates into success.”

“I still stay in touch with Coach Alberque, he’ll reach out to me before a big game and wish me good luck. He was the honorary coach in the Bergen County All-Star Game a few years ago and asked me to coach along side him. We practiced at Fair Lawn and had a great time and brought back some good memories.”

After graduating from Fair Lawn High School, Baeira attended Montclair State University where he continued to wrestle for two years before the Red Hawks program was disbanded. While attending Montclair State, Baeira caught a major break volunteering as a coach at Don Bosco Prep and working under head coach Nunzio Campanile. In addition, Baeira got the opportunity to work with the Ironmen football team as well serving as an assistant coach under Head Coach Greg Toal. During his time at Don Bosco Prep, the Ironmen won 47 out of 48 games and were named 2009 National Champions by USA TODAY.

“I can’t thank Nunzio enough for what he’s done for me. He got me into coaching and has taught me everything I know when it comes to football. He’s one of the most passionate guys you will ever meet. We talk almost every Sunday night during the season.”

“There is no great competitor than Coach Toal, his ability to motivate kids and get the most out of them was incredible to watch and stresses the basics and emphasizes toughness. I was fortunate to be part of the success at Don Bosco in the time I worked there and learned from some great coaches and built many friendships along with the way.”

After four seasons with the Ironmen program, Baeira departed for Becton Regional High School getting the opportunity to work as an assistant coach under Head Coach Roger Kotlarz. In the first and only year there, the Wildcats went 8-3 and advanced to the North 2, Group 1 state tournament semifinals.

“Roger is a heck of a coach and has a great reputation in the area and his teams’ are always well coached. I really enjoyed my time with him at Becton, there were a lot of great kids there. I remember the playoff game against Secaucus we were right there the whole way but cam up short.”

In 2011 Baeira made the decision to become an assistant coach under Head Coach Nick Delcalzo at Hasbrouck Heights and now eventually offensive coordinator. The Aviators have enjoyed immense success during Baeira’s time at the school going 72-16, winning six league championships, two NJIC (New Jersey Interscholastic Conference) championships, three consecutive state sectional titles and last year winning the first North Group 1 bowl championship at Met Life Stadium. One of Baeira’s biggest accolades was being named 2018 Assistant Coach of the Year by Hasbrouck Heights finished the season ranked eighth by High School Football America Top 25 Small Schools and 19th nationally by Max Preps.

“The best part about Coach Delcalzo is he trusts all his coaches, that’s important and everyone has to be committed to. There’s been a great winning tradition since the 50’s and Coach Delcalzo has only had one losing season in almost 40 years as head coach. He built this program into what it is and has been a privilege working here.”

“The guys I get to coach with each day and are the best guys around. It’s not only coaching but we have had a great number of players over the years. The support we get from our parents’, administration, school board and community is incredible. The atmosphere every Friday night is amazing, kids really feed off that and Hasbrouck Heights is a special place.”

“Last season meant a lot to the group of seniors. They weren’t always successful, as freshman only winning one game but they made a decision to change that. They worked their tails off in the off-season and sacrificed all summer long. These kids loved playing football whether it was at practice or on Friday night. They played hard each week, believed in each other, trusted their coaches and you can’t ask for more than that and it’s been a lot of fun.”

“The rankings are a testament to how hard out kids worked everyday. Not only last year’s team but the teams’ before them and it’s a culmination of many things. To see that type of recognition is humbling but our kids and the community deserve it. Some of the best talent is in New Jersey and I don’t think that’s a secret. Hopefully some of these kids stay home and represent New Jersey. There’s no better way to represent our state than by going to Rutgers.”

Baeira points to the junior football program in Hasbrouck Heights that keeps the high school varsity squad successful. “You won’t find a better junior football program around and most of the guys coaching played for Hasbrouck Heights and value the importance of football. They teach the kids how to be winners and tough. It’s the mindset they have instilled in the kids since they were six years old and extremely dedicated group of coaches.”

In the end for Baeira it’s all about the support he has received from his family especially his wife Maria and two children AJ and Olivia. “I have the best wife in the world, Maria was a great athlete at Hasbrouck Heights so she understands commitment when it comes to sports. She holds down the fort with our two children when I’m down at the field. A lot of time is spent away from home, with her support I’m able to do what I love doing and for that I’m grateful. She really deserves a lot of credit.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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