PISCATAWAY, NJ – The late Joe Coviello, one of the most successful high school football coaches ever in the state of New Jersey, will be the recipient of the fist Rutgers Football Letterwinners Association “Lifetime Achievement Award”.
Coviello, who was a teammate of former Rutgers head coach John Bateman at Columbia University, was a legendary figure in Hudson County for nearly 30 years. He first coached at Berwick High School in Pennsylvania, leading his team to the state championship in 1941. Following a 38-month career as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, he returned to his alma mater, Memorial High School of West New York, NJ and coached there for the next 15 years (1946-1960). He led Memorial to 12 Hudson County and eight state sectional championships with winning streaks of 40 and 31 games. During one span, his teams won 71 of 72 games.
His first game as coach of Memorial, in 1946, he led his squad to a victory over St. Cecilia’s of Englewood, who was coached by the great Vince Lombardi. Coviello then coached at North Bergen High School for 12 years (1961-1972), winning nine more county championships. He finished his high school coaching career in 1972 with 243 victories, a figure that was number one in the state at the time.
In addition, Coviello served as high school principal at both North Bergen and Memorial and is responsible for putting together the first state football playoff system, the precursor to the present system that is in place.
Coviello is the subject of a recent book, written by his former assistant coach and long-time Brick Township head coach Warren Wolf, New Jersey’s all-time winningest high school football coach. The book is entitled “Joseph Coviello: Master and Mentor.”
Joe Coviello was a great coach and a greater person.