Tony Karcich is the winningest high school head football coach in Bergen County history. For 29 seasons he has won wherever he's been, a tour that has seen him as the head man at Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph Regional HS. During his 29 years he has amassed 256 career wins to go alongside 53 losses. If you're keeping score that winning percentage is just a shade under 83%.
For a span that has now lasted 29 years and is now heading into number 30.
That's more than eight and a half wins per season ...
His 14 state titles average out to nearly 1 every 2 years ...
And much like a pleasant glass of wine that better displays its superiority in taste with the passing of time, Coach Karcich's accomplishments improve with every passing year.
Living in the tri-state area, which has become somewhat (unfairly perhaps?) renowned for the what have you done for me ... errr ... during the last 5 minutes ... type of adage, where your status is only as good as your last victory, Coach Karcich has little to say. He's one of the few that doesn't need to. His record speaks for itself.
The Green Knights of St. Joe's have won the last 6 state championships.
Yes, 6 straight.
During this span, they've amassed 61 wins, good enough for better than 10 per season.
During the previous 10 seasons, 9 state titles have been brought home. Yes, home, because the state trophy has seen little else of New Jersey other than Montvale.
103 victories in a span of 10 years. That comes out to better than 10 wins per year ... for the last decade.
Among his duties as St. Joe's head football coach, Karcich also dons the hat of Athletic Coordinator of the northern New Jersey prep school. And because that wasn't enough to keep him busy throughout the entire year, Karcich also decided some time ago to conduct an annual football camp, the Green Knights Football Camp. Karcich has been running the camp annually for 20 consecutive years.
The camp is divided in two primary sessions, one held between June 27th and June 30th and the second between July 5th and 8th. The camp is open to students entering the fifth grade through tenth grade in September.
A non-contact instructional football camp, the main purpose is to help develop and improve the skills necessary to become a better football player.
"Each camper will learn the same techniques and fundamentals that are taught to our St. Joseph Regional HS players. Pride, Discipline, Attitude, and Team are qualities that we emphasize every day. Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to work with some outstanding players and coaches and have fun", Karcich said.
In the past, instructors of the camp were college football players from various 1-A and 1-AA colleges and universities. More of the same can be expected this year including former Super Bowl MVP Quarterback Phil Simms and former Green Knights standouts Vince Ciurciu (Carolina Panthers LB) and Auggie Hoffman (New Orleans OL). For those interested in attending, registration forms are available by calling Karcich at St. Joseph at (201) 391-8978.
If Rutgers fans have any recollection of Karcich, prior to today, its likely due to his having been the coach of current Scarlet Knight Defensive Back Ron Girault. Girault appeared on the recruiting seen quite late during his senior year. Indeed, he was a signing day scarlet surprise that received no other Division 1 offers due to a 40-time that pushed recruiters away and had them looking elsewhere. If there's one thing we've learned from Girault's experience, it's that St. Joe's doesn't produce flashy superstars that will knock you over with marvelous athletic prowess. St. Joe's, instead, produces football players.
However, there is more to it.
"Coach Schiano called me", stated Karcich. "His 40-time was still an issue. But you see, his position doesn't require a great start. After his first or second step he's [Girault] as fast as I've ever seen. The truth is that his 40-time was skewed because of his initial take-off. Greg Schiano, and I give him credit for this, knows that true football speed is what you run after the first ten yards, from the ten-yard line to the forty-yard line. That's more of a correlation to football speed than the standard first ten yards to the forty."
"When he [Girault] did get into the open field he was as fast as anyone around. You see, Ronnie's thing was that he had to start from a stopped position." Undoubtedly, when Girault is playing center field, in an actual game, he is moving and does not jump on the ball from a motionless stand.
And that's precisely what others refused to see because of the inane love-fest with one of football's most glorified athletic trials.
"But now they're changing things. When they do speed drills at Rutgers they test the kids from the ten to the forty."
What will the future hold? Will performance camps and combines test differently for different positions? Impossible to tell now, but, at the very least, folks are becoming aware of some of the fundamental flaws of the much renowned forty.
For now, Karcich and his squad are eying a seventh consecutive state title. A tenth during the last eleven seasons. A mark that will surpass even Bergen Catholic's great achievement of eight state championships in a span of ten years (from 1991 to 2001).
"Commitment to Excellence" is St. Joe's mantra. It is what makes them a team. Not one or two individuals, but a collection of young men who depend, rely and assist one another, for their own future benefit. They know it works. They've seen the results.
"I feel that's what makes us who we are, because we have kids that most of the time make good decisions, but they make them when no one is looking."
"I'd rather have a great person, when everything is on the line, that you can trust. That helps the chemistry on the team."
If you would like us to come to your school or gym, in New Jersey, New York, or anywhere in the tri-state area, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike and the Big Dog LLC