Distinguished Coaches Award

The Morris County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame is pleased to promote and support outstanding individuals who demonstrate an interest and ability to maximize their player’s development on and off the field. Past winners include:

2023 Distinguished Coaches Award Winner


Brian Bowers

Coach Brian Bowers has served as Delbarton School’s Head Football Coach for the past 18 years.  Under Coach Bowers’ leadership, the Green Wave have won eleven conference championships, competed in five state championship games – and sent scores of players on to prominent college football programs around the country.  Coach Bowers was awarded the Morris County Coaches Association “Bill Regan Coach of the Year” Award in 2012 and again last year in 2020.

Before being named Head Coach in 2003, Bowers served as an Assistant Coach under Head Coach John Kowalik for six years.  Prior to arriving at Delbarton, Bowers coached at Williams College, the University of Pennsylvania and Stony Brook University.  Coach Bowers is a 1991 Graduate of Union College where he played tight end.  His 1989 Union College team played in the Division III National Championship (Stagg Bowl) game.  Coach Bowers is a member of the History department and he currently teaches the Senior Leadership class.

Coach Bowers is also the Assistant Director of Athletics.  Brian and his wife Melanie are the proud parents of three daughters – Lexi, Mary and Tessa.


Kevin Hennelly

Kevin Hennelly graduated from McBurney High School in New York, where he lettered in football, wrestling and baseball.  After serving as senior captain in both football and baseball, Kevin went on to be a three year letterman at East Stroudsburg University double majoring in Economics and Secondary Education, receiving his BA in Economics.  He later earned his Master’s Degree in Special Education from New Jersey City University. 

Upon graduating from East Stroudsburg University, Mr. Hennelly worked at Monvest Securities in New York City as an investment banker.  In 1988, he started his own company, P and H Contracting, while serving as an assistant coach for Cranford High School in Union County, NJ.  Following that, he began his career in 1991 teaching and coaching at West Morris Central High School, where he coached alongside Hall of Fame Coach Pete Piccirillo, who received the Distinguished Coach Award in 1999.  Mr. Hennelly served as assistant for six years under Coach Piccirillo, winning two state titles and two conference championships.  Mr. Hennelly took over the West Morris program in 1997 where in his twenty-three years as a head coach he recorded 165 wins and 91 losses.  During his tenure, his teams made the playoffs twenty times, winning six conference championships, six trips to the state finals, and four state championships.  

Mr. Hennelly has been awarded the Daily Record Coach of the Year, Star Ledger Coach of the Year, Morris County Football Association Coach of the Year, Bigtime Magazine Coach of the Year, and the New York Jets Coach of the Week.  He also proudly served as the president of the Morris County Football Coaches Association.  Mr. Hennelly’s strongest and most successful team to date is comprised of his wife, Maryann Scotti, and his three children, Michelle, Kevin, and Kaitlyn.  His son was a former West Morris Central Scholar Athlete in 2014.  Coach Hennelly’s plans include continuing to coach and teach for West Morris Central.


Bill Klika

In 1974, while teaching at Madison High School, Bill Klika started the FDU-Florham football program.  Klika coached part-time for the first seven years of the program’s history before moving to full-time at the beginning of the 1981 season.  From 1984 to 1989, he led the Devils to the most wins in a six-year period (28) and from 1992-1995 he guided FDU to 21 wins including a program best 8-3 record in 1993. The 1993 team also qualified for the ECAC playoffs for the first time in school history. He retired from coaching in 1996 but came back for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

Klika earned the Metro Award, given by the Eastern Intercollegiate Football Organization, in both 1988 and 1994 for his contribution to college football.  Over the course of his career, he has served on the NCAA Championship Committee, including as the chair in 2002 and 2003. He chaired the ECAC Selection Committee and served on the Kodak All-American Committee.

In May of 1989, Klika became only the second Director of Athletics in FDU-Florham history, which is a position he still holds today.  He is largely responsible for the building of the Ferguson Recreation Center, the home of FDU men’s and women’s basketball, and Robert T. Shields Field, the home of Devils football, field hockey, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse.  In 1996, Klika started the FDU-Florham Athletics Hall of Fame to honor past student-athletes and teams.  One of his proudest accomplishments is starting six different athletic programs including women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse, men’s swimming, women’s swimming, men’s cross country and women’s cross country.

Klika graduated from Colgate University in 1967, where he was a letter winner in both football and lacrosse. He went on to earn his master’s degree from Colgate as well.  Klika and his wife Betty reside in Neshanic Station N.J.  They have four children: Bill III, Melissa, Tim and Colin.


Bill Carpluk

Bill Carpluk graduated in 1974 from Central Islip High School on Long Island, where Bill played football and lacrosse. He went on to be a four-year letterman in football at Bucknell University, graduating in 1978 with a B.S. in secondary education. Later Bill earned his masters degree in secondary education at East Stroudsburg University.

Bill began his teaching and coaching career in 1978 at West Morris Central High School, under the mentorship of Pete Picirrillo. Bill was an assistant coach in football and lacrosse at W.M.C. before leaving in 1985 to become the first head lacrosse coach at Mendham High School. Bill also coached football at Mendham High School as an assistant to Rich Attonitto, until being appointed head coach in 1989. Bill stepped down as head Lacrosse coach in 1993, devoting his coaching time to football through 2004.

During his seventeen years Bill’s football teams recorded 122 wins and 53 losses. Fifteen of the seventeen seasons were winning seasons, including a twenty-eight-game winning streak, four ten-win seasons, six Iron Hills Division championships, nine playoff appearances and six state finals games. Bill has been named the Daily Record coach of the year in 1994 and 2004. Bill was The Star Ledger – Morris County coach of the year in 2004, and the 2004 M.C.F.C.A coach of the year. Bill was also named the Lou Rettino / N.Y.Giants coach of the week, and was recognized by the NJSIAA for his contribution to high school football.

Bill has worked in the West Morris Regional District for twenty-seven years as a coach, teacher, and supervisor, and currently as an Assistant Principal at Mendham High School, where he has served in that capacity for the past six years. Bill lives in Long Valley, NJ, with his wife, Clare, and three children, Rebecca, Bill and Clifford. Rebecca is a 2004 graduate of James Madison University. Bill is a 2005 Johns Hopkins graduate, where he played football for four years. Clifford graduates from Mendham this spring and will attend Western New England College in Springfield, Mass., where he will also play football on the college level. Clare is a first grade teacher in the Fernbrook School in Randolph, NJ.


John Porcelli

A New Jersey native, John graduated from Columbia High School in South Orange in 1970 where he played on the offensive and defensive line. He went on to earn a B.A. in history at Bloomfield College and his M.A. in Administration and Supervision at Kean University.

John began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1978 and by the mid ‘80’s was appointed Columbia High School’s head coach for the Cougars, a team whose fan base was supported by John’s enthusiastic and ardent mother, a local resident who regularly rode the team bus to games.

By the late ‘80’s, John went on to became the football coach and the Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Morristown High School. During his tenure at Morristown, John accumulated 134 wins while only losing 59 games. He won six Iron Hills Division championships and four NJSIAA championships. He also won 35 consecutive games.

John’s individual awards include the 1997 Daily News All-Area Coach of the Year, the 1997 Morris County coach of the year, the North Section II coach of the year, as well as the state coach of the year from the New Jersey Football Coaches Association. In addition he was also named to coach in the North-South All Star Games in 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2003. John is currently serving as Athletic Director in Montclair.


John Kowalik

With reverence for Delbarton’s tradition of pride in academics and athletics, Coach Kowalik has made it his mission to prepare young men to be leaders in their community through the values he recognizes in the game of football.

Growing up in Braintree, Massachusetts, Kowalik played football and track at Archbishop Williams High School. He continued to excel athletically at Williams College, starting for three years on a stellar Eph defense. He also received the Charles DeWoody Salmon Award for the football player who made the most significant contribution to the varsity team in his sophomore or first year of eligibility. During his senior year, he was appointed captain of the football, and winter and spring track teams. Off the field, John was selected into the Williams Gargoyle Society to advise the college president on campus issues.

He graduated from Williams with a degree in political science and later earned his M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University Teachers College.

Kowalik came to Delbarton School and New Jersey football in 1984. After learning from legendary Delbarton coach Bill Regan, Sr., the twenty-six–year-old Kowalik became only the second head coach in Delbarton’s football history. During his tenure, Kowalik developed a program that emphasizes achievements in football, the classroom, and in life.

As a sixteen-year head coach of the Green Wave, Kowalik guided his teams to nine Northern Hills conference championships and two Parochial Group III championships. His teams have qualified for state playoffs each of the past ten seasons with state finals appearances in seven of those last ten. Kowalik achieved an overall record of 138-29, and in 1999 at the age of 38, earned his 100th win, which put him among the youngest coaches in state history to reach such a milestone. Coach Kowalik was awarded the prestigious NFL High School Coach of the Week Award an unprecedented three times, in 1997 and 1999 from former New York Jets Head Coach Bill Parcells and in 1999 from New York Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel.

John has served on the Delbarton faculty for nineteen years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He is the former athletic director and is the current Dean of School/Assistant Headmaster. He has been active in local, state and national athletic and educational organizations, including the National Association of Independent Schools, the NJSIAA, NJAIS and the Morris County Athletic Directors Association. John has published an article on educational technology and has delivered lectures at college and high school seminars and conferences. He has been active with the Governor’s Bowl and the Paul Robeson All-Star Classic. Kowalik is a paradigm of leadership in education and has created a culture of distinction at Delbarton emphasizing the values of honor and integrity.

Coach Kowalik’s greatest love is his family. Along with his heroic and supportive wife Carolyn, John is proud of his children Liza, Jack, Mark and Sara. John Kowalik will continue to be a leader in education as he assumes the headmaster position of the Peck School in Morristown, NJ on July 1, 2003.


Jerry Tardive

Jerry Tardive began teaching Physical Education at Dover High School in 1974. For eight years, he served as an assistant football coach, and from 1978-1982 he was also the head baseball coach, during which time Dover won two conference championships. He became the head football coach for thirteen years, from 1983 to 1994. During his tenure, Dover High School won three conference championships, two Group II Section II state championships, and three second-place finishes in the state playoffs.

Tardive was selected coach of the year by the Morris County Football Coaches Association both in 1984 and 1988. In 1997 Jerry was selected to the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. In the year 2000, he was inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame. Jerry’s record as head coach at Dover High School was 95-34 -2, making him the winning-est coach in Dover High School’s one hundred-year football history.

Jerry is married to the former Valerie Thurlby, and has two children. His daughter, Traci graduated from Kutztown University, and his son Vincent attends the College of New Jersey where he is a member of the Lions Football Team.

Jerry has been teaching in Dover for the past twenty-eight years. He is currently the athletic director, a position he has held for the past eleven years.


Doug Wilkins

Doug Wilkins graduated from Roxbury High School in 1960, and after receiving his BA from Moravian College in 1964, accepted a position with the Mountain Lakes School District as a history teacher and assistant football coach. In 1966 he was appointed head football coach, and four years later he became the school’s athletic director. He continued his rise within Mountain Lakes, as vice principal in 1978, and in 1986, as principal, where he served until retiring in March, 1999.

Under the direction of head football coach Doug Wilkins, the Herd of Mountain Lakes was a team in pursuit of excellence. They have a 34-year win/loss record of 231-90-5. His teams won fifteen conference championships, five state championships and two second-place finishes in state playoffs. Coach Wilkins has been honored by the Daily Record and the Morris County Football Coaches Association as coach of the year. He is a member of the New Jersey Interscholastic Hall of Fame, a recipient of the N.J.S.I.A.A. Coaches Honor Award, and is a charter member of the Morris County Football Coaches Association as well as a past president.

Doug is married to the former Marjorie Wallace and has three children, Debra, Lisa and Gordon.


Peter G. Piccirillo

Peter Piccirillo was born in Newark, New Jersey, where he played football for Newark Central High School attaining all-state status in both football and baseball. His hard work and athleticism earned him a football scholarship to play Big Ten football for Indiana University. At Indiana, he started on offense and defense, and earned varsity letters for three consecutive years.

After college, Piccirillo was drafted by the New England Patriots but took his love of football to the high school level instead. He started in Ohio, and two years later, in 1961, he became an assistant football coach at West Morris Central. By 1963, Piccirillo was appointed head football coach at West Morris.

Over 34 years at West Morris, Coach Piccirillo’s record tallied a phenomenal 220 wins, 98 loses and six ties. Under his leadership, West Morris won eight conference championships, was named number one in the county six times, made it to the playoffs eleven times, were state finalists seven times, state champions three times, and had twenty-three consecutive winning seasons. Defensively, his teams gave up less than an average of eight points per game.
His individual coaching recognitions include New Jersey Coach of the Year, North Jersey Coach of the Year, and he was named six times as the Morris County Coach of the Year.

His success can be attributed to keeping the student-athlete as the primary focus of the sport, and by emphasizing a strong sense of family and teamwork. In keeping with this philosophy, he changed the name of the football team from West Morris Highlanders to West Morris Wolfpack to represent the strong family structure maintained by wolves. The team adopted the motto, “The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf.” He created a caring, respectful, football family in which players regularly sought his advice both on and off the field.

He considers his greatest accomplishments to include his marriage to Susan, and raising his daughters Linda, Janet, and Sally, their husbands Bruce Warrington, David Yamasaki and Steven Randall, and his five grandchildren.


John J. Bauer, Sr.

John J. Bauer, Sr., our honoree posthumously for the 1998 Coaching Award, had devoted a large part of his life to the youth of our county as an educator, a coach and a role model.

Coach Bauer grew up in Palmerton, Pennyslvania, where he excelled in football, basketball and track with the Palmerton High School Blue Bombers. At the start of World War II, Coach Bauer joined the U.S. Navy. Upon his return, John graduated from Muhlenberg College where he played center and linebacker for the Mules. In 1951, Coach Bauer received his bachelor’s degree in English, and then re-enlisted in the Navy, this time serving his country during the Korean War.

With his Navy career behind him, John moved to New Jersey where he was appointed to the Roxbury High School faculty as an English teacher and coach. For the next eleven years, Bauer coached football, basketball, and track. When Randolph High School opened its doors, they chose Coach Bauer to lead their football program. After five years, Coach Bauer was also named athletic director for Randolph, where he instilled his winning philosophies in his entire coaching staff, making Randolph High School athletics a model program.


John Chironna

Coach Chironna joined Morristown’s football program in 1967. His team won twenty-two straight games from 1972 to 1975, and won New Jersey State Group IV Section II championships in 1973 and 1974. His 1974 team was named the number one ranked team in the state by the Star Ledger. Coach Chironna was named coach of the year in 1973, 1974, and 1981. In 1987, Coach Chironna was also named honorary head coach of the North/South All-Star Game.

A graduate of Westfield High School, Coach Chironna was a three-year letter winner in football, and team captain during his senior year. He was also selected to the Group III all-state football team and an all-county basketball team.

Upon graduation from high school, John enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Shea. He later went to Bucknell University where he lettered in football for four years. His collegiate awards include all-Pennsylvania and all-East titles, and he received the Bucknell University Outstanding Athlete Award. In 1984 he was inducted into the Bucknell University Hall of Fame and, in 1996 the Football Team of the Century.

Coach Chironna is married to the former Katherine Alimisis. He has three children: John, Jim, and Frank, all of whom played for him at Morristown High School.


Ted Monica

Ted Monica began his coaching career at Glen Ridge High School. After a year, he left for a three-year tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal and a Combat Star. Following his discharge in 1954, he returned to the coaching sidelines as an assistant at Dayton Regional High School in Springfield.

In 1955, Coach Monica was appointed head football coach at Madison High School where he led the Dodgers to an unprecedented five straight state championships in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1967. Four more state championships followed in 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1979. His 1979 team was named the number one high school football team in New Jersey. His 1964 and 1979 teams were ranked number three in the United States by the Associated Press and the United Press International wire services.

Coach Monica’s teams competed in the Suburban Conference where he led the Dodgers to nine conference championships in 1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1979. In addition, Coach Monica’s teams had a winning streak of thirty-eight consecutive undefeated games during the 1977, 1978, 1979, and 1980 seasons. Following the 1980 season, Coach Monica retired his position as head football coach with a record of 177 wins, 60 losses and 5 ties. He remained at Madison as athletic director, a position he has held since 1963.

Ted Monica served as a coach in the 1991 North/South All-Star Game at Giants Stadium. In 1978, he was named Head Coach of the West in the Herald-New East/West All Star Classic.

Monica lives with his wife, Lee, in Madison, where all three sons played for him on the Madison team. Coach Monica’s son Ted Jr. played center, and then coached one year with his father before moving on to coach for Watchung Regional High School. Coach Monica’s son Bob was the 1976 188-pound New Jersey State Wrestling Champion and an all-state linebacker. Coach Monica’s son Mark was the quarterback of the 1979 team, and played in thirty-four consecutive undefeated games during his father’s thirty-eight game winning streak. His daughter Patty and her husband James live in Florham Park.


Bill Regan

A graduate of Notre Dame University, Bill Regan coached the Delbarton football team for over forty years during which time he compiled 235 victories, and ranked top two in the state for victories accrued at one school. During his career, he produced six unbeaten, untied teams and had four additional seasons in which he was undefeated but tied once.

In 1946, Coach Regan began his coaching career at Delbarton where he also served as a physical education and history teacher. In addition, he was appointed athletic director, a position he held for forty years. Under his tenure, Delbarton went from a football, basketball, baseball, and track school to one that included swimming, hockey, tennis, soccer, as well as other athletic teams.

Coach Regan has received the Frank LaBarca Humanitarian Award, and he has been inducted into the State Football Coaches Hall of Fame as well as the Delbarton Hall of Fame. In addition, he has been recognized for thirty-five years of contributions to football by the American Football Coaches Association.

Regan resides in Denville, not far from where he played football at Wharton High School and Morristown School, predecessors of Morris Hills-Morris Knolls Regional Schools and Morristown-Beard.