Tierney Steps Down as Pinelands Boys Hoops Coach

Sep 28, 2016

During the past 10 basketball seasons, John Tierney gave all he had to the Pinelands Regional boys hoops program. He put in a lot of time helping his players in any way he could, and always made sure they had as positive experience as possible, even when the program itself wasn’t a winner.

“I gave 100 percent to Pinelands basketball when it needed 100 percent of my attention,” said Tierney, who recently announced his resignation as the head coach after accumulating a 95-125 record. “Hanging around the gym with the kids, telling them stories and having some laughs with them were the best parts of coaching. And even when we were losing a lot, it never even crossed my mind to throw in the towel.

“I’ve watched a lot of kids grow up and I held them to high standards, which is the thing so many of my former players have thanked me for and the thing I’m most proud of as I step away. I always tried to make their time with our program special. It was a fun run.”

During Tierney’s tenure, the Wildcats enjoyed their first winning season and first berth in the Shore Conference Tournament. He also was the Shore Conference Class B South Coach of the Year twice. Last season, the Wildcats finished 10-14 overall and 6-8 in the division.

But during this past summer, Tierney’s realized his heart simply wasn’t in it anymore. He had for 15 years attended a basketball camp in Princeton and this time “I really didn’t feel like going.”

“I’ve been going back and forth on this since the end of last season,” Tierney said. “But I really knew it was time to step down when that camp came up and I didn’t want to go.”

During the spring, Tierney had an infection that required surgery and over the summer Tierney also got engaged, so many things had been weighing on him for several months.

“I lost both my parents during the last two years, and the biggest thing to me is my family,” Tierney said. “Between my fiancé and me, we have four kids and it’s time for me to watch my kids grow up. And, really, if there was a time to go, this is a good time. I can put the program in the hands of somebody who really has a passion for the school and the program.”

Tierney’s assistant of the past five seasons, Fred Johnson, a former hoops player and 1996 Pinelands graduate, will take over the program starting with the 2016-17 season.

“The one thing Freddy has on me is that he bleeds green and gold,” said Tierney, who lives in Bayville and also is an assistant football coach at Lacey High School. “Freddy’s a Pinelands guy, and he’s the right guy. He’s going to do great, and I’m confident in saying the program is in better hands now than it was yesterday.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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