Legendary N.J. Football Coach Wolf, 83, Retires Again

June 20, 2011 / Football

Getting out of bed in the morning took a little longer. Errands tired him out. His mind wasn’t quite as sharp as once before.

Warren Wolf, the legendary New Jersey high school football coach, added it all up and decided it was time to walk away. This time for good, he said.

The 83-year-old retired this week after one season as football coach at Lakewood High School, ending one of the most incredible coaching careers in state history.

During 52 years on the sidelines, Wolf won 364 games — the most of any public school coach in the state.

Before coming to Lakewood, he spent 51 years at Brick High, retiring for the first time in 2008 as the state’s all-time leader in coaching victories. (The record was broken in 2009 by Pope John’s Vic Paternostro, who retired earlier this year with 373 wins.)

“I’m at a stage in my life now where I get tired,” said Wolf, who added he does not have any major health problems. “I’m a year older and I honestly believe a younger person, a younger man, is going to have more vitality, more vigor, with some of the things that might be waning with me right now.”

Wolf won 24 Shore Conference divisional titles and six state sectional titles during his tenure at Brick, where he started the program in 1958.

He stepped down after the 2008 season but stunned the high school football community when he came out of retirement in January 2010 to take the job at Lakewood, one of the state’s worst programs.

When he took over, the Piners had lost 27 straight games.

The streak reached 33 before they beat Central Regional, 20-15, on Oct. 30. The Piners went on to finish with a 3-7 record — their best mark since 2002.

“We turned the corner for Lakewood football,” Wolf said. “The losing syndrome is gone and the boys have an understanding that they can win.”

After the season, Wolf, who turns 84 in August, planned to come back for another year, but he said fatigue started to set in.

He thought about the looming summer practices, the meticulous game plans, the scouting and felt like he wouldn’t be able to keep pace.

He met with the Lakewood athletic director on Friday to hand in his resignation.

“I don’t think I can do the job anymore,” Wolf said. “(But) I enjoyed every minute of it.”

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