One of the Shore Conference’s most distinguished head coaching careers began innocently 33 seasons ago in Essex County.

Ted Jarmusz was 24 years old. He had been hired as an assistant coach at West Orange High School.

“Then, the day before the season, the coach quits,” Jarmusz said. “They asked me (to be the head coach) , whether it was out of rage or whether it was out of convenience, I don’t know. I parlayed that into I think, a 3-13, 3-14 record.”

Jarmusz did not have a season like that again. He coached at West Orange for four more seasons and became Monmouth Regional’s head coach before the 1987 season after he had been an assistant coach to former Falcons’ head coach and athletic director Mike Luccarelli for one season.

This past season, his 27th and final one as Monmouth’s head coach, was one of Jarmusz’s most satisfying. It was also probably one of Jarmusz’s best coaching jobs.

A team many scholastic baseball observers thought would struggle, won the NJSIAA Central Group II championship after being seeded No. 8 in the section. Monmouth finished with a 17-10 record and ranked No. 8 in the final Asbury Park Press Top 10 poll.

That was after Monmouth did not win a preseason scrimmage, according to Jarmusz, and after it had been routed, 14-0, by Red Bank Catholic in the opener.

“These kids proved they were the right group to go out with,” Jarmusz said. “They made it happen for each other and for me.”

Jarmusz had informed his team several weeks before the state tournament began this was going to be his final season as a head coach. He said it was a decision he made in mid-March.

“I started to get a feeling this particular group of kids is a bunch I would want to be associated with forever,” said Jarmusz, who said he will be a gudiance counselor at Red Bank Catholic this fall and does not know when he will return to coaching. “I coached a lot of different teams. I wouldn’t want to put one above another, but I was really taken with these guys because of their work ethic and how much they sacrificed.

“They were bridesmaids last year (runners-up in Central III to Freehold), but instead of taking things for granted, they worked harder this year.”

Hard work, sacrifice, under Jarmusz’s slogan of “Pride N Hustle”, have been staples of the Monmouth program for 27 seasons. It was what Jarmusz learned under his Little League coach for four years — long-time Rutgers coach Fred Hill Sr..

His former West Orange assistant coach Jack McCarthey and his Monmouth assistant coaching contingent — which included Joe Pingitore, who was with Jarmusz for all 27 seasons, current assistant coaches Paul Crivello and Adam Evans and former assistant coaches Joe Montano, the current Red Bank Catholic athletic director/girls basketball head coach, Fred Kampf Jr., the son of legendary former Shore Regional head coach Fred Kampf, Tony Martinez, Bob Merola, Robbie Roper, Brian Smith, Lou Petrone and Emil Talerico — helped Jarmusz institute “Pride N Hustle”. “Pride N Hustle” is also the name of Jarmusz’s summer baseball camp.

Monmouth has been one of the Shore’s better programs throughout Jarmusz’s tenure.

The Falcons won the NJSIAA Group III championship in 2005, the only state baseball championship the school has won. They also won three NJSIAA sectional titles, the Shore Conference Tournament championship in 1989, three straight Monmouth County Tournament titles from 1990-1992 and seven Shore Conference divisional titles.

Jarmusz’s 464 career wins are the fifth most amongst those who have coached in the Shore Conference behind Toms River South’s Ken Frank (791), Christian Brothers Academy’s Marty Kenney (711), Toms River East’s Bill Frank (503) and former St. John Vianney coach Barry Cook (481).

“The guys that I emulated when I first came down here were Kenny Frank, when I saw what they did down there, I wanted my program to do that,”Jarmusz said. “When I saw what Freddie Kampf Sr. (the Shore’s ninth all-time winningiest coach with 374) did at Shore. That’s where the chatter and high energy came from. We really held true to that philsophy all the way through.”

And his final team overachieved at the end and gave its coach a well-deserved victory lap.

“It really has been incredible,” Jarmusz said.

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