By Vincent Landolfi Jr.
In a conversation about some of the great football coaches in Shore Conference’s illustrious history, you would hear names bantered about like Warren Wolf (Brick), Vic Kubu (Manasquan), and John Amabile (Middletown, Wall, Neptune, and St. John Vianney). One name you wouldn’t necessarily hear is that of Frank Edgerly, the former head football coach at Red Bank Catholic (1999-2008). That is because after only 10 seasons at the Caseys helm, Edgerly realized a dream come true, and jettisoned the Shore Conference for the National Football League.
“Sometimes it’s hard to believe it actually happened,” the Caseys former signal-caller said.
Maybe that’s because it never had happened to anyone before.
“It’s one thing to be always working toward a goal, but another to actually get the call,” he said.
“The call” came in the spring of 2009 from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
“If you remember,” Edgerly said, “Donnie (Donald Brown, RBC Class of 2005) declared for the NFL draft, so I was getting a lot of calls from NFL personnel about him. That’s what I thought this was.”
In actuality it was a job offer as a scout for one of the most successful franchises in recent NFL history from one of its greatest coaches.
“I’m not surprised at all,” said Brown, now a running back for the Indianapolis Colts, when asked about his former coach’s fortunes. “He has one of the greatest football minds of anyone I’ve ever been around at any level. He knows how to utilize personnel and play to their strengths.”
Brown is not the only one to think so.
Edgerly was recommended to the Patriots by none other than the NFL’s self-proclaimed Monday Morning Quarterback, sportswriter Peter King. This came about when NBC was awarded the NFL contract to televise Sunday Night Football. King was hired to broadcast on-air analysis segments alongside commentators such as Jerome Bettis, Chris Collinsworth and Sterling Sharpe. He developed a working relationship, then friendship with Edgerly, who was hired to travel to New York on Sundays during the season to break down 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. games for the program. It turns out that Edgerly’s name was successfully submitted for the position by his high school friend, Matt Celli, who just happens to be a four-time Grammy Award-winning sports graphics producer for the network.
After four successful seasons with the Patriots, that included one promotion, Edgerly was elevated to senior pro scout of the Cleveland Browns by General Manager Mike Lombardi last June. In his new position with the Browns, Edgerly is responsible for a staff that concentrates on preparing the team for their games during the season, and building their roster in the off-season.
“In season, my main focus is on advanced game planning of opponents and preparing reports (55-60 pages) for all three phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams),” Edgerly said. “We then meet with all three staffs on Mondays and give them player-by-player breakdowns of the upcoming opponents’ team.”
Always a week ahead, Edgerly then begins his work on the following week’s game, which includes traveling to various NFL cities to perform a live scouting review. On Sunday, when the Browns are up the New Jersey Turnpike to take on the Jets at MetLife Stadium, their pro scout will be fighting the elements on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., where the Packers host the Steelers, Cleveland’s last opponent.
“It’s one thing to watch a team on film,” Edgerly said, “but altogether different in person. Watching live, you have the game-day experience of how they work clock-management or handle injury situations.”
It is quite an accomplishment to be where he is, but not necessarily the end of the line for Edgerly.
“He has one of the best football IQs of anyone I know,” Brown added. “I can see him one day being a position coach or coordinator in this league.”
Hopefully, that sentiment goes from his former player’s lips to the general manager’s ears.
“Eventually, that would be something I would be interested in,” Edgerly said. “In this position, I am exposed to all areas of an NFL team, half coaching, half player personnel, and every aspect of the building process. It would be great to take that all out on the field one day.”
Those fields would be in places like Dallas, Miami, and Kansas City, as opposed to the ones in Middletown, Toms River, and Wall. Coaches Wolf, Kubu, and Amabile would be proud of their disciple, because this could not have happened to a more hard-working, deserving person.