Frauenheim to retire at season's end
Pierce Frauenheim answered the question before anyone had the chance to ask it of the New Jersey football coaching legend.
What in the world does a man who's spent almost half a century coaching football do when he finally decides to stop?
Frauenheim--both the winningest and longest serving active coach in the Garden State--announced early today that the 2012 season would be his 47th and final one at Immaculata in Somerville, and hinted of his plans beyond the gridiron in a prepared statement.
The iconic coach will officially retire Dec. 23 as coach, athletic director and assistant principal of the Somerset County high school.
“I’ve had a wonderful career at Immaculata, and I have had opportunities few people have to be part of such a caring community,’’ Frauenheim said. “But turning 72 in January, the time is right. I am looking forward to travel and relaxation with ‘Queen Ann,’ my wife of 51 years, and spending time with my seven children, my 21 grandchildren and, with a new addition on the way, my four great-grandchildren.”
That's a lot of people, but not nearly as many whose lives were touched as players and students under Frauenheim's steady stewardship. He began at Immaculata when it opened its doors in the fall of 1962--just several months after his graduation from Rutgers--and launched the football program four years later.
Immaculata promptly became a highly respected program locally and did not take long to establish itself as one of the premier outfits in all of Central Jersey and then statewide. The Spartans have amassed a 322-135-2 record, won 22 conference titles, four NJSIAA state championships and have appeared in nine finals under Frauenheim. Immaculata has produced winning seasons every autumn since 1978.
The Spartans realized their 34th straight winning campaign last year with a 9-2 record and an appearance in the Non-Public Group 3 final, where it fell to St. Joseph of Montvale. Immaculata graduated a number of standouts from that team--including Frauenheim's grandson Pierce III--but does return with Auburn recruit Tashawn Bowers, a top-rated defensive end, quarterback Antonio Natale and several other experienced players.
Frauenheim played at Rutgers and was a member of the 1961 squad that finished 9-0. He coached his first state championship team at Immaculata in 1984 and also led the Spartans to titles in '85, '94 and '06. That most recent championship club was 12-0 behind the efforts of running backs Theo Riddick and A.J. Albert, who rushed for a combined 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns, quarterback Frank DeNick and linebacker Thomas DeSchaine.
Frauenheim has been honored numerous times for his contributions as both a coach and administrator. Just last April, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Directors of Athletics Association. He is a member of the New Jersey Coaches Association Hall of Fame and a multiple winner of Coach of the Year accolades from various media organizations.
Mike Kinney covers football for MSG Varsity. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKinneyHS