By JOHN T. WARD
Without so much as a murmur from the sparse audience, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional’s board of education named a new football coach Tuesday night — while remaining mum on the ouster of the last one.
Jerry Schulte, who spent the last decade running the defense for the high-achieving Bulldogs, was chosen by the board to replace Bryan Batchler, who was put on administrative leave in December for unexplained reasons and was later removed as coach.
Superintendent Pete Righi, who put Batchler on paid leave nine days after he led the Bulldogs to their third consecutive state sectional title with a win over Red Bank Regional, declined once again to say what prompted the suspension or provide any details about the situation, citing the confidentiality of a personnel matter.
Batchler was also “recinded” as the assistant spring coach for the the boys’ tennis team, Righi confirmed. The board named Daniella Goodarz, who also serves as the girls’ fall tennis assistant coach, as his replacement, Righi said.
Batchler, 39, taught at R-FH for seven years, and remains listed on the school’s website as an instructor in algebra and advanced-placement statistics.
He served as an assistant football coach for eight years before succeeding Shane Fallon as head coach in February, 2013, and led his teams to NJSIAA sectional championships in each of his three years at the helm.
With an uninterrupted résumé stretching back to the 1974 freshman squad at Keansburg, Schulte is a veteran of high school football in Monmouth County. He’s held defensive and offensive coordinator positions at four schools, and served as head coach at two: Mater Dei, where he ran the program for five years, and Wall, where he spent the last 10 years of a 15-year stint in the top job. [The original version of this post incorrectly reported that last stint as having been at Monmouth Regional.]
After five years as offensive coordinator at Monmouth Regional, Schulte joined the Bulldogs in 2005 as defensive coordinator, and like Batchler, worked under head Fallon as he built the team into a Shore Conference and state powerhouse.
Schulte told redbankgreen he expects no overhang from Batchler’s departure. The rest of the coaching staff remains intact, he said, and is intent on executing “as seamless a transition as you can find,” aided by players who are motivated to uphold the tradition they enter into.
“A lot of these guys motivate themselves,” he said of the players. “They just want to keep it going.”