As the clock ticked down in Monsignor Donovan’s 36-7 win over Pinelands Friday night, Donovan’s players gathered around their head coach Dan Duddy.
The Griffins then gave their coach a Gatorade shower to honor his 100th career coaching victory.
“This is really a community win,” Duddy said after being presented with the game ball by members of his family. “I’m so glad that I was able to share this with this group of seniors.”
Senior linebacker Dean Wilk said that Duddy never brought up the milestone during practice this week.
“You would not know that this was his 100th win. I did not find out until we were about to dump the water over his head,” Wilk said. “He never mentioned it all week.”
Wilk said that Duddy’s impact on the Griffins will be felt long after their playing days are over.
“I love playing for him,” Wilk said. “He doesn’t just coach football, he coaches us in life. He created a brotherhood that I’ve never felt before in my life. He is the best.”
Donovan opened the scoring on a 28-yard touchdown run by Joey Fields on the Griffins’ opening offensive possession. Dante Pagano followed with a 2-point conversion run to give Donovan an 8-0 lead.
The Griffins then took a 15-0 lead when Ray Gantt scored on a 10-yard run late in the first quarter.
After holding the Pinelands offense on downs inside the 1-yard line in the second quarter, Fields scored on a 99-yard touchdown run to give the Griffins a 22-0 lead at the half.
“Coach Duddy is the best coach that I’ve ever had in my life,” Fields said. “I’ve been coached by a lot of great coaches and coach Duddy is just different. It’s a brotherhood here. Coach Duddy is a great man and he coaches you at life also.”
Fields finished with 133 yards rushing, 22 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Thirty-two of Duddy’s 100 wins have come at Donovan with the remaining coming during his tenure at Central Regional.
“The cool thing about it is that 50 percent of those wins were done with three members of this staff that were players at Central Regional High School,” Duddy said. “So there is a real tight bond there.”
Over the years, wins have become less important, Duddy said.
“I’m from the Coach (Warren) Wolf pedigree and he got 360 something wins. I felt that one day I could beat his record but I would be 136 years old,” Duddy joked, referring to the legendary Brick High School head coach. “But to be honest as the wins went by, the wins became less and less important. I just hope that there are 100 kids that I have coached that are good husbands, fathers and sons out there.”