Some 400 people packed the main banquet room at the Sheraton in Eatontown Sunday for an event that’s both a celebration of past success and an introduction to one of the shore’s signature annual events. 

Monmouth County All-Star head coach Greg LaCava (Colts Neck) and Ocean County’s John Wagner (Point Beach) at Sunday’s Shore Football Coaches Foundation brunch at the Sheraton in Eatontown.(Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Presented by the Shore Football Coaches Foundation the noon brunch honored members of the All-Shore Academic Team as well as the players chosen to take part in this summer’s U.S. Army All Shore Gridiron Classic, known to many as the Monmouth-Ocean All Star game.

82 seniors were saluted for their achievements both on the field and in the classroom and many of those same scholar-athletes will also be playing in the July 18th game at Toms River North.  Among that group are Corey Foltzer of Jackson Liberty, Lakewood’s Tyrice Beverette, Andrew Ullman and Tom Farrell of Monsignor Donovan, Quinn Kusma of Point Beach and Toms River North’s Garrett Kroeger and Chris Gulla.  The members of the All-Shore Academic Team received their awards from Monmouth University head coach Kevin Callahan, who was one of the speakers at the brunch.

I served as Master of Ceremonies for the event which also featured the announcement of the coaching staffs and players for the Gridiron Classic.  Ocean County General Manager Gerard O’Donnell of Manchester introduced Head Coach John Wagner of Point Pleasant Beach along with his assistants and the 50 or so players while Monmouth County General Manager Frank Papalia of Holmdel welcomed head coach Greg LaCava of Colts Neck and his staff and All Star players.

Wagner and LaCava were among those honored by their peers for earning Coach of the Year recognition in their respective divisions.  Others were Jim Portela(Red Bank Catholic), Chuck Donohue Sr. (Southern), Mark Ciccotelli(Neptune), Dan George (Long Branch), Mark Costantino(Shore), Dan Duddy(Monsignor Donovan) and LJ Clark(Lakewood).

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Tim Osborn, the Jackson Liberty coach who died suddenly last month.  Osborn was heavily involved in the All Star game as General Manager of the Ocean County team and his absence was felt yesterday like it will each and every day for his family and friends.

Special thanks to Captain Austin and his group from the U.S. Army for their sponsorship and support and praise to the hard working members of the Coaches Foundation who devote countless hours for the benefit of the players and game.