LONG BRANCH – Following a career that spanned nearly 40 years for multiple local publications, including the Asbury Park Press, Chris Christopher was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Thursday evening at halftime of the U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic.
Christopher was joined at Long Branch High School by fellow inductees Chris Barnes, the highly successful former head coach of Jackson Memorial and Wall, and Shore Regional head coach Mark Costantino, who coached Monmouth County in the All-Shore Classic Thursday night.
For Christopher, Thursday marked the culmination of a writing odyssey that saw him begin writing about sports at the age of 8 for the Ocean County Daily Times in Lakewood. The Times was owned by Christopher’s father, Sam, who died in February at the age of 87.
Winner of three New Jersey Press Association Awards, Christopher covered all levels of sports from youth to professional, closing his tenure at the Asbury Park Press in 2014 by covering various Shore Conference sports.
Chris now covers sports for The Two River Times and The Coaster.
Barnes was Middletown North’s all-time leading rusher under late, legendary head coach Vic Kubu before playing at Syracuse University from 1984-87. He accepted his first head coaching job with Jackson Memorial in 1994, leading the program to its first state-playoff victory in 1999.
That 1999 Jaguars team helped lay the foundation for back-to-back undefeated state championship teams in 2000 and 2001 under Reggie Lawrence.
Barnes left Jackson Memorial to take the Wall job in 2000, compiling a 90-38 record in 12 seasons before stepping down in 2011. In those 12 seasons, Wall won five division titles, nine state playoff games and the 2002 NJSIAA Central Group III crown, the school’s first state title since 1983.
Costantino took over at Shore Regional in 1992 and owns a career mark of 153-85-1. Known for a strong running game out of the Wing-T formation and a stiff defense, the Blue Devils won state titles under Costantino in 1998, 2010 and 2014. His 2014 team went 11-1, capped by a 42-12 win over South Hunterdon in the Central Group I final.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Costantino and Shore are 47-11 overall with two state titles and four trips to the Central Group I final.
Staff Writer Josh Newman: email@example.com