TASTY TIDBITS Stinson earns NJSIAA Hall of Fame berth

Secaucus wrestler Duran makes it to finals of Garfield tourney

It was a great day for Ed Stinson last Monday, when the Hoboken native, current Secaucus resident, and long-time football coach was inducted into the NJSIAA Hall of Fame at the Pines Manor in Edison.

It was an honor long overdue for Stinson, who set the high school football world on its ear during a reign of dominance at Hoboken High School in the 1990s.

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At one point during the years of 1994 through 1999, Stinson enjoyed winning streaks of 29 and 38 games, winning five NJSIAA state sectional championships. It was an era never before seen in Hudson County and never will be witnessed again.

Think about it. Stinson had a five-year stretch where the Red Wings (back then two words) posted a record of 68-1. That’s no misprint. Any football team posting that kind of record anywhere is astounding. Stinson did it right here in our backyard.

“When I think about my career, I had a tremendous amount of great players,” Stinson said.

He’s right. Stinson had players like Terrell Dortch, Keeon Walker, Rashard Casey, Ravon Anderson, Jason Cassesa, Wilber Valdez — all of whom went on to major college football.

“They went on well beyond high school,” Stinson said. “They went to schools all across the country. Without them, none of this ever happens.”

Stinson also thanked his wife, Marie, and his four daughters, Marie, Stacy, Kristen and Erin for their support.

“They went beyond being proud of their father and husband,” Stinson said. “They validated the success we had over the years.”

Stinson was asked if he reflects back to his Hoboken days, especially at times such as these.

“As the years go by, I become more and more nostalgic,” Stinson said. “It’s amazing to think that 20 years ago, I had those great players and it starts to creep into your mind, the historical perspective.”

Stinson said that he did pause to reflect about the other Hudson County honorees in the NJSIAA Hall of Fame. This is like the granddaddy of high school Hall of Fames in New Jersey, when the state association honors you.

“I did take a look at the others and noticed that Joe Coviello [the legendary Memorial football coach] is the only other football coach from Hudson County in this Hall of Fame,” Stinson said. “Joe Coviello was someone I looked up to. He’s someone who coached against the great Vince Lombardi. He taught so many local people about football. And he was a real gentleman. Being the only other football coach from Hudson County in this Hall is a true humbling experience.”

Stinson, who was the head coach at places like St. Anthony and Queen of Peace in recent years, and also had stints at Park Ridge and Pascack Hills High School in between his two stints as head coach at Hoboken, ended his 44-year coaching career with a 254-85-5 record.

Stinson gained induction with such legendary figures as Al Leiter, the former Yankee and Mets All-Star hurler who once struck out an unbelievable 32 batters in one game for Central Regional High School back in 1984, Milt Wagner, the Camden basketball star who was a key figure in Louisville’s NCAA championship of 1985, Ron “Itchy” Smith, another Camden High School basketball superstar, the late Dr. David Sime, the Fair Lawn track and field Olympian, and John Millar, the legendary soccer coach from Kearny High School.

Stinson remembered his first year of being a head coach at Hoboken. It was 1977 and the district was still reeling from the teacher’s strike. He took over the program and guided the Red Wings to a 2-6-1 record. That’s not exactly Hall of Fame material.

“I didn’t know if kids wanted to play football back then,” Stinson said. “But that season was certainly a motivating factor to get better. We didn’t exactly start out great, but we ended up getting greater appreciation.”

Three years later, Stinson won the first of his six NJSIAA state championships and the rest, as they say, was history.

“We beat some good teams along the way,” Stinson said. “It’s certainly not a bad way to end the career. I was happy to get this award. This is the true Hall of Fame, the real one that is statewide. The others I’ve received are nice, but this one stands out.”

As well it should. Of all the inductees going back to the initial Class of 1996, only 11 hailed from Hudson County. That says it all…

Probably the biggest surprise of the recent Cutter Classic wrestling tournament over the weekend was the performance of Secaucus 220-pounder Saummy Duran.

Duran entered the tourney as the No. 3 seed in his bracket, but advanced to the finals with wins over Patrick Brand of Fair Lawn (a pin in 4:36) in the quarterfinals and a 6-4 overtime decision over Andreas Harilau of River Dell in the semifinals.

Duran’s dream tourney ended with a defeat to top seeded Mike Urgiles of New Milford in the finals, but for someone who has only been wrestling since he was a sophomore, the strong outing in the season-opening tourney had to open some eyes.

“I’ve been working my butt off for this,” said Duran, who lost twice in the tournament the last two years. “My coach [Ed Roesing] told me that I could do it.”

“I’ve been coaching him in football and I thought he had what it takes to be a wrestler, so I encouraged him to come out,” Roesing said. “His work ethic is a cut above everyone. He works as hard as anyone I’ve ever coached. He takes charge out there. He cares about everyone. He set his mind this year at this tournament to do something special.”

The Secaucus coaching staff is comprised of Ed Roesing and younger brother Sean. Sister Cory is the head volleyball coach. It’s a family that definitely gives back.

The strong performance has to help Duran for the rest of the season.

“I was confident coming in, but I am more confident now,” Duran said. “Coach said I was going to make it to the finals and I did it. I think I’m starting to realize what he was talking about. I think I can hang now with anyone.” – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com