Dave Oizerowitz said he was content being an assistant coach.
However, even he admits, when the Toms River High School North head coaching job opened up, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
position opened up when it was announced in late March that Chip LaBarca Jr., the Mariners’ head coach the last seven seasons, would not be allowed to coach because the Toms River Regional Schools District was implementing a policy that did not allow school administrators to coach in the district.
Oizerowitz, who was the head coach at Lakewood High School in 2001 and 2002, had been the Mariners’ defensive coordinator from 2006-2011 and the freshman head coach last season.
“When it opened, I talked about it with my family before I applied and everything,” Oizerowitz said. “It was just something being in the school, knowing the kids really, really well, being down at the lower level last year, which was a blessing to be honest with you, knowing what we had coming up, I just felt like I had my fingertips on the pulse of the program.
“If I was going to be a head football coach again, this would be it. It was either this one or nothing. I decided to take a shot at it.”
Oizerowitz, who played his scholastic football at Toms River South, was named Toms River North’s coach in early June.
He is one of 10 new head coaches in the Shore. The others are Bryan Batchler at Rumson-Fair Haven; Jim Sharples at Jackson Liberty; Steve Bush at Middletown North; Keith Killea at Asbury Park; Brian Wilkinson at Pinelands; Willie Jacobs at Central; Chris Damian at Keansburg; Jason Dagato at Marlboro; and Rich Mosca at Monmouth Regional.
Oizerowitz inherits a program that is in transition.
Junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani, LaBarca Jr.’s nephew, transferred to Brick, where LaBarca Jr. is now the offensive coordinator. Wide receiver Kyle Carrington, running back/receiver Joey Fields and running back Trevon Bass were among a group of players who transferred to Monsignor Donovan long before Oizerowitz was named head coach.
* Batchler, an assistant coach at Rumson-Fair Haven since 2005, takes over for Shane Fallon, who resigned shortly after last season to pursue his masters degree. Fallon is Rumson’s all-time winningest coach with 106 and coached the Bulldogs to the 2010 Central Group II championship, the only sectional football title in the school’s history.
* Sharples takes over under the most emotional circumstances of any new coach in the Shore. An assistant at Jackson Liberty since 2006 and the Lions’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons, Sharples succeeds Tim Osborn, who died suddenly on April 13. Osborn had been the Lions’ only head coach since the inception of the program in 2006. Jackson Liberty earned its first playoff berth last season.
* Bush, the successful head coach at Manalapan from 1993-99, succeeds Joe Trezza, who resigned in January after seven seasons. Bush inherits a program that has not had a winning season since 2000.
* Killea, an assistant coach at Lakewood last season, succeeds Matt Ardizzone, who remains as the offensive coordinator. He takes over a program that has won four sectional championships in the last six seasons. * Wilkinson, the head coach at Toms River South from 2001-2007 and the defensive coordinator at Toms River East last season, inherits a program that has lost 21 straight games since late in the 2010 season.
* Jacobs, a former Central player and the Golden Eagles’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons, succeeds Vinnie Casale, who is still the school’s athletic director. He takes over a program that has not had a winning season 2001.
* Damian, Monmouth University’s running backs coach the last 10 seasons, succeeds Brian Kmak, who was Keansburg’s coach the last 10 seasons.
* Dagato, Marlboro’s defensive coordinator in recent years, succeeds Derek Sininsky. The Mustangs, who went 4-6 last season, have not had a winning season since 1999. Dagato is the Mustangs’ sixth head coach since 2001.
* Mosca, Monmouth’s defensive coordinator the last two seasons, is one of the true veterans in Shore Conference football. He was the head coach at Keyport from 1973-75, Middletown South’s first head coach for nine seasons beginning in 1976 and the head coach at Monmouth in the early 1990s. He was also the head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Park for nine seasons from 2002-2010. He succeeds Jason Morrell, who resigned three days before the start of practice to take an administrative position in the West Deptford school district.