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Ted Evans high school football coaching journey comes full circle

As a senior at Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, New Jersey, Ted Evans got the opportunity to witness legendary Tony Karcich in his first season as head coach of the Green Knights. Then came the opportunity to return to his alma mater and coach six years alongside Karcich. Starting out at Cresskill, Evans spent time as an assistant coach with head coach Chuck Johnson before becoming head coach at Dumont High School.

“The lessons learned from working with guys on a hot day in the middle of June, out on the field and no other game that challenges you emotionally, physically and mentally with all things that go on in society today,” said Evans. “You can’t cheat the game. Coaching kids and developing young men is the part that interests me about the game and they get to take away a lot more.”

“On a Friday night when you can bring 70 or 80 boys together, cheerleaders, band, students and parents. Nothing else as you go through the school year and on a week-to-week basis.”

Despite having to step down after five seasons at Dumont High School in 2017, Evans had nothing but good memories of coaching the Huskies. “Very proud of my time at Dumont,” he recalled. “The community is incredible and always said I never met a bad person from Dumont and good-hearted people that are proud of their town.”

“I had the opportunity to hand off the baton to Rick Burd, my defensive coordinator for the last three years I was there and we knew it was going to be a process from 2012 but a team we felt was going to be consistent. Our third year we were right outside of the playoffs and back to .500 level. I know the program is on the rise, Rick has a young football staff that were holdouts from my staff and headed in the right direction. Turning the Dumont-Tenafly rivalry around one of my proudest moments because they had a 10-game winning streak over us and the kids made it a goal back in 2014 that we were going to beat Tenafly and gone on this run ever since.”

“Family issues and commitments forced me to leave the school but they are in good hands with Rick and I am excited for every little bit of success and expect another step forward after making the playoffs. Nothing but good memories and feeling and I will always be a Husky supporter.”

Not expecting  to coach again after Dumont, a terrific opportunity presented itself at Paramus High School where Evans has been a business education and personal finance teacher for 22 years. After two good conversations with head football coach Joe Sabella, Evans became the lineman coach for both the offense and defense.

The Spartans went from 3-7 in 2017 to winning a school record 10 games last season, registering a first round state playoff game victory against West Milford before bowing out in the second round against River Dell. “Through my journey, Paramus has been my home base for teaching,” Evans said. “Athletics is just a tremendous opportunity for the kids. For kids having to go out and compete and mentally take that into the classroom.”

“We knew it was going to be a two-year process and group that took its lumps year before but had a young core of lineman and that would be a big part of the team. It really helped in developing our skill guys in Kyle Jacob and Trevor Bopp. It was a process but we had a committed group of seniors and week-to-week growth. When we won at Pascack Valley our coming out moment and felt comfortable even though people were a little surprised but solidified that in the Ridgewood game. We had an emotional victory at River Dell and knew we would take their best shot again.”

“We knew we would be a contending team but not getting a lot of attention and too many articles written about us and people picking us. Each week the kids wanted to prove themselves and trait of Paramus kids. Playing hard, tough and most importantly earning your respect on the field. Earned that label back again after that label had slipped away last couple of years.”

“Joe (Sabella) leads the team by example by getting after it every day and working hard. You see lot of coaches trying to cut corners. He puts together a great off-season program for our kids to get in shape and how they train in the winter and look at the last two seasons. In the dark ages you would start out in August and that was the beginning of your season. Everything now happens in June and July and a full season before it starts. We need this time to develop players, it’s tough but if you love it and kids buy in because it’s part of the grind.”

A father of three kids, Evans has been a volunteer coach at Pascack Hills the past two years where he got the opportunity to coach his daughter Megan. “When it was her last game after losing to Westwood in the state playoffs, an emotional experience and realizing this journey and watching it was pretty incredible and blessed to be able to do that.”

Evans oldest daughter Mackenzie just graduated from Rutgers University where she excelled on the rowing team and earned Big Ten academic awards. “If you would tell me that Mackenzie would go from playing little league softball to a scholarship rower there is no way to predict how this stuff happens but as a parent you have to enjoy the ride and let it all happen.”

“Sports is a big part of their experience and passionate about something that is important. When I was at Dumont, my son (Matthew) was at Pascack Hills playing football where he was undersized but ended up being a three-year starter and had a great career and used lessons from the game. Managing your time, developing a work ethic and putting in your time and seeing the results. That’s the big part between education and athletics.”

“As parents’ stepping back and not worrying about whether kids are going to fail. You have a lot of kids worry about winning and losing. Sometimes parents have a knee jerk reaction and think they are helping their kids by stepping in being a coach or advocate.”

“When kids develop a sense of accomplishment and do things on their own and figure it out is a really exciting thing and parents’ give them enough rope to let them do that.”

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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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