Tim Osborn, the Jackson (N.J.) Liberty High School head football coach and athletic coordinator, died Saturday, Jackson Township School District officials confirmed.
Brick Township Police Sgt. Sandra Naiduk said Brick Police received a call Saturday afterrnoon that Osborn collapsed while working out at Bally Total Fitness in Brick. She said the Brick Township First Aid Department was called to the scene and tried to perform CPR on Osborn. Osborn then was transported to Brick Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Naiduk said. The cause of death was not determined Saturday.
He was 55.
Osborn had been Jackson Liberty’s coach since the school opened in 2006. The Lions went 23-37 under Osborn and qualified for the NJSIAA playoffs for the first time in 2012.
“Tim was a dynamic, dedicated teacher and coach who was incredibly passionate about his students and the Jackson community,” said Jackson Township District Deputy Superintendent of Schools Lu Anne Meinders, in a statement to Jackson Township Coordinator of Communications and Technology Allison Erwin.
“I had the pleasure of knowing him as a fellow district staff member, but also as a parent of a child who played for him in the inaugural year of the Jackson Liberty High School football program, and I can tell you that his vibrant personality and enthusiasm endeared him to so many people, including myself. His loss will be felt by so many of us.”
Jackson Liberty principal Maureen Butler, in a statement to Erwin, said Osborn was a “mentor and father figure.”
“Tim Osborn was a man beyond and head football coach, but a mentor and father figure for so many students, not only here at Jackson Liberty but the entire Shore community,” Butler said. “He went above and beyond for everyone, especially our students and staff and was an integral part of making Jackson Liberty what it is today. Our Liberty family is so deeply saddened by his passing and will miss him more than words can express.”
Jackson Liberty students conducted a vigil for Osborn on Saturday night at the school’s football field, according to Erwin.
Jackson Township’s crisis managers will be available to students for counseling at Jackson Liberty from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and all day Monday, Erwin said.
Before he went to Jackson Liberty, Osborn had played and coached at Brick Township High School for legendary head coach Warren Wolf and was an assistant coach at Toms River High School North from 2000-2005.
“It’s really shocking. In my opinion, he is much too young to die,” said Wolf, who is New Jersey’s second all-time most-winning football coach, with 364 victories.
Osborn was Brick’s starting left offensive tackle from 1974-76 and a defensive coach for the Green Dragons from 1982-99.
Wolf and Osborn had an extremely close relationship.
“I love him like a son,” Wolf said. “God only takes good people. I know he’s in good hands with our heavenly father.”
During Osborn’s playing career at Brick, the Green Dragons defeated Camden, 21-20, in 1974 at Convention Hall (now Boardwalk Hall) in Atlantic City in the NJSIAA South Group IV championship game, the first playoff game ever played in New Jersey. They also won Shore Conference divisional championships.
“I would classify Tim as a dependable reliable player, someone who didn’t worry about his assignment. You know he was going to go out and give 100 percent effort all the time,” Wolf said. “He was a leader on the field, a coach’s delight.”
Brick won four sectional championships and 10 Shore Conference divisional championships while Osborn was an assistant coach.
“He did everything I asked him to do. If there’s such a word as perfect, he was that type of guy, steady and dependable,” Wolf said.
Most of those who played at Brick not only developed a close relationship with Wolf, but also with each other.
That’s where Dan Duddy, Monsignor Donovan High School’s current head football coach, and Osborn formed their close relationship. Duddy, Brick’s starting quarterback from 1972-73, was a senior when Osborn entered the Brick program. The two later worked together for 10 seasons on the Brick staff before Duddy became Central Regional’s head coach in 1992.