Southern's Chuck Donohue Sr. Inducted Into NJ Football Coaches Hall of Fame

By DAVID BIGGY | Jul 05, 2017
Courtesy of: Chuck Donohue Jr. Southern Regional head football coach Chuck Donohue Sr. shows off the plaque signifying his induction into the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on June 26.

Southern Regional’s Chuck Donohue Sr. has spent 44 years on the sidelines as a head football coach, and he’s still not ready to call it quits.

“I’m coming up on my 45th season as a head coach, and 48th overall, and I still feel great, thank God,” said Donohue, who on June 26 was inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. “I’m still not afraid to put in the hours, doing all the prep work and online things, or filling out forms and sending tape to help kids get to college. And mentally, I’ve been ready for the next season since January. But I’m not sure if I’m going to get to 50 years. We’ll see. ”

Donohue, representing the South Jersey section, and three other head coaches – one from each state section, North 1, North 2 and Central – were inducted during a halftime ceremony for the North-South All-Star Game played at Kean University. Fred Stengel, Tom Falato and Mike Ciccotelli were the other heads inducted, along with four assistants, Andy Johnson, Daryl White, Joe Petrill and Ray Reca.

“Being inducted means a group of people noticed something about me and the programs I’ve been involved with, and how much hard work we put in to build successful football teams,” Donohue said. “I was notified earlier in the year, and I didn’t think much of it then. But when I showed up at Kean the other day, that’s when it hit me. I thought of all the people who affected the programs I’ve been a part of and how blessed I’ve been to be a part of four great support systems, which included families, coaches, kids and administrators.”

With a career record of 245-172-4, Donohue spent seven seasons at St. Joseph (Hammonton), five at Haddon Heights and 12 at Buena Regional, before serving as the Rams’ head coach the past 19 seasons. To date, Donohue is the only South Jersey head coach to guide four different programs to NJSIAA sectional championship games. At Southern, Donohue’s teams have accumulated 106 victories.

“My family has sacrificed an awful lot for me to put in all this time coaching football,” he said. “But they get it. They know that, to me, if you can’t make a full commitment to be a head coach, you shouldn’t be doing it. Over the years, I’ve stepped in to take over four struggling programs, and even though we took some lickings in the beginning, I put in as much time as needed to help get our programs going in the right direction and stabilized. I always believed in what we did, and I always believed in the players.”

And that belief in his players also means he has challenged them to rise above rough times, knowing the fruit of their toil would benefit them later in life.

“I always taught that, in life, there are going to be losses, whether that be a loved one or a job, and you have to maintain the mentality to keep going through the struggles,” he said. “I always viewed football as an experience to learn from, and that’s why we have football in high schools, because it teaches a lot of lessons about life.”

Not surprisingly, Donohue may want to win as much as any other coach, and even though he previously had been inducted into the South Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame (2012) and the Shore Conference Football Coaches Hall of Fame (2013), his most treasured time while coaching has been the one in which he’s been able to coach alongside his son, Chuck Jr., Southern’s athletic director and one of his father’s assistants.

“When I was at St. Joe’s, my son Jimmy was a quarterback at Hammonton High School; and then Chuck was a center for St. Joe’s when I was coaching at Buena,” Donohue said. “So, it was a unique situation to coach against my sons as players. But being able to coach with Chuck, that, personally, has been the most special part of my career.”

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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