Friends, family members, school administration and Board of Education members gathered at Red Bank Regional to celebrate the memory of Robert Strangia, the most-winning coach in RBR history. The event, which took place prior to the RBR’s first home football game on September 15, saw the dedication of the street leading to the school’s stadium as Robert Strangia Way.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On September 15, history was memorialized prior to the first home football game of the season at Red Bank Regional High School. Robert Strangia, the legendary football coach who tallied the most wins in the school’s history, was honored by friends and family, and many of the students whose lives he touched and changed forever.
Two of the former students, Jerry Agee and Pete Soviero, petitioned the RBR Board of Education to honor their hero and mentor, and fundraised for the event. At the ceremony, the road that leads around the school building to the football stadium was officially designated as “Robert Strangia Way” in honor of the beloved coach, who resides now in Florida but was unable to attend due to health reasons.
Michele Strangia Hale and her son, Matthew, unveil their dad and grandfather’s plaque and street sign designating “Robert Strangia Way,” during a recent ceremony honoring of the winningest sports coach in the history of Red Bank Regional High School.
A plaque was unveiled beneath the sign, which reads, “Dedicating Robert Strangia Way as a path to the stadium field where the historic 1975 Central Jersey Group II Championship Game was played symbolizes the past, present and future of Red Bank Regional. Coach Strangia is a legend and a leader that put Red Bank Regional’s Football Team in the record books and RBR on the map.”
A member of the NJ Sports Hall of Fame, Robert Strangia was also inducted into the RBR Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2002. He joined the RBR teaching staff in the late 1960s and enjoyed an educational career spanning four decades, which included his elevation to Supervisor of the History Department.
Coach Strangia’s historic career as the BUCs football coach was highlighted by three undefeated teams in 1971, 1974 and 1975, and one of the longest winning streaks in the Shore Conference history; a 28-0 record running from 1973 to 1975. His RBR Bucs squads included two future NFL players: Lonnie Algood (Syracuse University; Cincinnati Bengals) and “Big” John Lee (University of Nebraska; San Diego Chargers).
“During the 1970s the country was going through a lot of crazy stuff,” Lonnie Algood explained. “Lots of the boys in our locker room were from broken homes with no dads around. He would leave all that outside the locker room and would ask the question, ‘Are we all in’?”
“He told us there is a champion in each one of us,” Allgood continued. “His job was to bring the champion out and together we could win championships. That was the secret. It wasn’t just about football; it was about life, to be a champion in life. That is what he taught me and everyone else on our team.”
Pete Soviero told the assembled crowd, many of whom were wearing “Robert Strangia Way” t-shirts, that “Robert Strangia was so much more than great football coach he was an educator, disciplinarian and mentor to hundreds of students and athletes.”
“There were numerous times I can recall, and more I don’t know of, that these men and women could have easily been derailed and taken the wrong path in life if it wasn’t for Robert Strangia,” Soviero continued.
Jerry Agee thanked the RBR administration (including Athletic Director Del Dal Pra and Principal Risa Clay) RBR Board of Education President John Garofalo and the RBR Board for working with him and Mr. Samaro to make this honor happen. He added that Coach Strangia was also disappointed that his health precluded him from traveling, but sent his goodwill ambassadors — his daughter Michele and grandson Matt, who unveiled the plaque and street sign to much applause.
Michele Strangia Hale later spoke about her father at halftime, mentioning that “My dad is all heart. Anything he has ever done was directly from his heart and for the wellbeing of others. I know that he sent five pages of notes, but really that is because he is speechless (about this great honor).”