When Bayonne High School’s tennis team beat Secaucus last month in the Hudson County Team Tournament, it was the team’s fifth straight time they had become the Hudson County Interscholastic League champions.
The team achieved a record of a perfect 18-0 against other teams in Hudson County, and an overall record of 25-3 for the year.
“Bayonne is not known as a tennis town, but it should be,” said the team’s coach, Bill Broderick, for whom this marks the 20th year of county championships in his 34 years as coach in Bayonne.
Bayonne has made the finals the last 19 years, winning the championships 14 times during that stretch.
Previously, Bayonne teams have won only four straight championships, from 1996 to 1999, and from 2001-2004. This is the first time Bayonne has won five championships in a row.
“People don’t think of tennis when they think of Bayonne.” – Bill Broderick
He could not have predicted this team would win this year, since on paper his team – coming into the 2011 season – seemed to be third best in the county behind Hudson County Prep and Secaucus.
Broderick said this was one of those seasons where his team beat the teams it needed to beat, and its losses came to the best teams in the state.
“Were those better teams than ours? Yes,” Broderick said. “Were we embarrassed? No, we held our own.”
On all-county teams, Bayonne’s Igor Pomyluyko was first in the singles division, while Joseph Gozon and George Neutsopoulos were first in doubles.
By position, Andro Mossad finished second in the county in singles, while Anthony Cofone and Hussein Eid finished second in doubles.
Broderick coached 700th victory this year
Broderick, as a coach, won his 700th victory in May. When he won his 600th in 2007, he was ranked among the top five tennis coaches in New Jersey. His program is considered the most successful in Hudson County.
Recently, the Bayonne Jewish Community Center – where he coached for 46 years – paid tribute to him by naming its gym after him.
What makes his teams so good?
Broderick only shrugs when he tries to answer, although getting time on the court to practice may be part of the answer.
“The fact that we have courts on our campus helps,” he said. “Our students can get out there right after school at 3 p.m. when students from other schools may not get onto the court until 3:30 p.m. or even later.”
It also helped that he had a number of returning players on his first team this year, players with experience at winning, and who helped win last year. He will have a similar setup next year when four of his seven first team players will be returning.
But he isn’t smiling about it. If fact, players said they didn’t see him smile through this whole season, not until the team won the championship. Then he smiled a lot.
He said his players had a strong work ethic and often put in time even off-season during the school year, when league rules prevent him from coaching them. They get onto the court to hit the ball around.
The teams start up in March each year with the first matches beginning in April. Rules say that he’s allowed to coach them during the season and over the summer, but not during the school year out of season.
“At that point, I have to watch from afar,” he said. “I might work with a freshman who is interested in joining the team in the future, but not with the team.”
Broderick is only the second tennis coach in Bayonne history – in a town where basketball is king.
“Our school has had some brilliant basketball teams, and our baseball team is always a contender,” he said. “But people don’t think of tennis when they think of Bayonne.”
Broderick said he has cut kids from the team whom he thinks won’t be able to compete, and fields a very competitive team every year.
This year, there were 16 students involved in the team. Last year there were 19.
“Anyone of our players could start on any other team,” he said.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.