August 15, 2007
OCHS proposes new coaches, Barons come to the rescue
By TOM WILLIAMS
The recommendations for new Ocean City High School coaches will come before next
week's meeting of the board of education.
Bryan Chojnacki, a record-setting swimmer when he competed for the Raiders, has
been recommended by the high school administration to become head boys swimming
coach. He will replace Tim Matlack, who coached the boys and girls swim teams
last winter. This year, for the first time, there will be a separate head coach
for girls swimming. The girls swim coach will not be determined until at least
The other head coaching position that could be approved next week is Matt Purdue
as head coach in boys track. He would succeed Chris Armstrong, who was head coach
the last four years before resigning to become athletics director at Wildwood
In addition, the BOE will be asked to approve Leo Hamlett, former All-South
Jersey quarterback at Holy Spirit, as a football assistant in place of Armstrong.
Hamlett scored 12 TDs and passed for 13 in 1991, his senior year, when Spirit
finished 10-1 and lost to Holy Cross (coached by Greg Luzinski) in overtime for
the South Jersey championship. As a junior he guided the Spartans to an 11-0
record and a South Jersey title.
Hamlett went on to very successful career with the University of Delaware. He
finished his college career with 6,313 yards of total offense. Only former
NFL MVP Rich Gannon and two others gained more in Delaware history. He was
All-East at Delaware and the Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Year.
There are other assistant coach positions to be filled but all other head coaches
are expected to return. Two of the assistant coach positions are in girls
basketball. Shaune McLaughlin, who coached the junior varsity team last year, has
returned to Mainland, her alma mater, as an assistant coach. And Trish Henry, who
was the girls freshmen coach last year, will not coach basketball this year
because she is expecting her first child in December.
These times can be tough on high school budgets, especially in the inner-city.
The Woodrow Wilson High School boys soccer team from Camden was battling serious
financial problems. They were short on both uniforms and equipment.
The Courier-Post wrote a story about their plight and the South Jersey Barons
came to the rescue.
The parent organization of the Ocean City Barons, who played their home games at
Carey Stadium again this summer, the Barons donated a full kit of uniforms - home
and away jerseys, pants and socks - plus 10 practice soccer balls.
We all love the competition of sports. We enjoy the experience of seeing teams
battle for victory. But the value of the struggle really comes home when you see
a sportsmanlike gesture like this.
A tip of the cap to the South Jersey Barons and the others who stepped forward to
help these young men have a fair chance to compete.
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Tom Williams' columns