Former College of New Jersey standout and Central Regional High School wrestler Mike Denver was named Brick Memorial’s head coach Thursday night by the Brick Township Board of Education, District Athletics Director Bill Bruno said.
Denver was the NCAA Division III 184-pound champion in 2012, his senior season at TCNJ. He was a three-time NCAA Division III All-American. He is one of seven former Shore Conference wrestlers to be at least a three-time NCAA Division III All-American.
He will be inheriting the Shore Conference’s most tradition-laden program, just the fourth head coach in Brick Memorial’s 34-year history.
Brick Memorial has won a Shore Conference-record eight NJSIAA Group championships, a Shore record 14 NJSIAA sectional championships, a record 14 Shore Conference Tournament championships and a Shore record 27 NJSIAA District team championships.
Five of those state group championships, 10 of those sectional titles, 10 of those SCT championships and 19 of those district team championships came under former head coach Tony Caravella, who was Brick Memorial’s first head coach from 1980-2003.
Denver succeeds Dan O’Cone, who resigned for personal reasons in April after seven highly-successful seasons as the Mustangs’ head coach.
Brick Memorial won three NJSIAA Group IV championships, including one last season, consecutive Shore Conference Tournament championships the last two seasons, Shore Conference Class A South co-championships in 2008 and 2013 and six NJSIAA District 23 team championships under O’Cone. The Mustangs went 147-32 under O’Cone.
Denver, who was St. Rose High School’s head coach last season, spent time in the Brick Memorial wrestling room during the postseason last season. He was the Region VI third-place and District 24 runner-up at 171 pounds in 2007, his senior season in at Central.
Brick Memorial should be one of the state’s best teams in 2014. Four state qualifiers in 2013 return, including Nick Costa, who was seventh at 182 and Joe Ghione, who was sixth at 103 and 106 in 2011 and 2012 and is a three-time state qualifier.