By Vincent Landolfi Jr.
RED BANK – Former New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) head basketball coach Jim Catalano has been hired to lead the Caseys boys’ basketball program.
Red Bank Catholic High School Director of Athletics Joe Montano announced that Catalano, most recently the boys’ head coach at Boonton High School in Morris County, was stepping into the role. Catalano previously led the former Division II Highlanders of the for 22 years. During his tenure at NJIT, Catalano’s teams won a myriad of divisional and regional titles and championships, while amassing more than 425 victories with a .705 winning percentage.
“He is obviously a talented and accomplished coach,” Montano said.
The Caseys’ athletic director cited Catalano’s “background and experience as well as his love for the game” as some of the reasons why Catalano was the successful candidate chosen from 16 interviewees who were culled from the 30 resumes received by the school.
“I think RBC is a perfect fit for me” the Long Branch resident said. “Whenever someone mentioned the possibility of coaching in Shore Conference, it always came around to Red Bank Catholic. The facilities are fabulous and it was the only position I was interested in.”
Having already met with his returning and interested players, Catalano started summer workouts as soon as possible – and a little ahead of schedule.
“It’s an intricate system we’re teaching,” the former Jersey City State College guard said. “We wanted to give our players the opportunity to learn the entire aggregate of the offensive and defensive system we run as soon as possible. We’ll have time later to assess strengths, level of play and condition.”
If it sounds like the Caseys boys’ basketball team is going to take an academic approach to the game – to go along with the physical aspects – it is. This is due, in no small part, to Catalano’s educational background. A vice principal right out of college, Catalano also served as a high school principal at Manchester Regional in Haledon, athletic director at NJIT, and earned his Ph.D. to continue to lead young people in the classroom as well as on the court.
“He molds young men,” Montano said. “His background in education and success as a basketball coach are the reasons why we felt he was the right person to continue to move the boys’ basketball program in the right direction.”
“If you teach student athletes the right things on and off the court, they’ll be successful after high school and beyond,” Catalano said.
Assisting him will be longtime RBC boys’ and girls’ coach Joe Nappo.
“I’m very excited,” the Henry Hudson Hall of Fame member said. “I am looking forward to working with Jim, and building something with him and our boys.”