Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wimberly in Waiting for Hackensack Job

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Wimberly in Waiting for Hackensack Job

Article excerpt

Benjie Wimberly - politician, civil servant and father of four school-age children - may have to make some time in his already busy schedule.

Wimberly, who serves as an Assemblyman (D-Paterson) and as a recreation coordinator for Paterson public schools, has been recommended for the position of head football coach at Hackensack High School.

It's a juggling act Wimberly already has done successfully. He was head coach at Paterson Catholic from 1995 until the school closed in 2010. Wimberly coached Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who has credited Wimberly with helping him succeed on and off the field.

Besides coaching and mentoring the future Giants star, Wimberly, 47, led the Cougars to seven sectional titles. Paterson Catholic had a remarkable 70-3 record in Wimberly's last seven seasons.

Wimberly's appointment is on the agenda when the Hackensack Board of Education meets Tuesday night. Assuming the board approves him for the position at a salary of $14,070 - a decision thought to be a formality given the credentials he brings - the impact of the new coach should be felt beyond the hallways.

"I think he's an absolutely perfect fit for Hackensack," Hackensack Superintendent of Schools Joe Abate said. "No. 1, he comes to us with a rich tradition of success. Based upon everything I've read about his relationship with Victor Cruz, he's a motivator. He can relate to student-athletes and also works very hard on the academic end."

Wimberly, who declined to comment for this story, has been out of coaching for two seasons since Paterson Catholic closed. He had opportunities to coach, but made sure his former players were situated. Wimberly has kept busy by getting involved in politics. He was a city councilman in Paterson for a little more than a year before being elected to the State Assembly in November.

Hackensack officials want Wimberly to have an impact that reaches well beyond the field. Hackensack principal James Montesano knows the kind of impact a football coach can have on a high school student. Montesano was a captain on the Comets' 1992 state championship football team under coach Greg Toal.

"If your leaders are the great kids in the schools, I know my school is going to be lot better because of it," Montesano said. "It involves the marching band and the cheerleaders and all the students. …

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