Rich Glover Jr. had to begin to wonder if the dark cloud of doom was simply following him. The son of football royalty, Glover Jr. had to think that perhaps it wasn’t his calling to be a head football coach like his father, the former Nebraska All-American, Outland and Lombardi Trophy winner and defensive tackle in the NFL.
Rich Glover, the father, was the head coach at Dickinson and Ferris in his native Jersey City, after a stellar career at Snyder and then Nebraska, where he earned All-America status twice and led the Cornhuskers to the 1972 national championship.
That Nebraska team went to the White House to visit with President Richard Nixon.
When the Huskers were on the visit with the President and in the cabinet room where the meetings took place, Nixon asked, “Which one is Glover?” Rich stepped forward to acknowledge the President.
Nixon then said, “Good, Glover, you sit here.” It was Melvin Laird’s seat at the cabinet table. Laird was the Secretary of Defense. No one could ever rival Nixon’s knowledge of sports. Needless to say that was a memorable moment for Glover, who eventually was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
In any case, Rich Glover Jr. wanted to be a head coach like his father. After serving as an assistant coach with his father, Glover Jr. applied for the head coaching position at nearby Harrison High School.
Glover Jr. had his work cut out for him, because Harrison was in the middle of a downward trend, having won just four games over five seasons, including a 20-game losing streak.
And he was an outsider, not knowing many people in the inner workings of the district.
But, hey, it was a head coaching job and that’s all Glover Jr. ever wanted. So he took the Harrison job, brought his celebrated father along as an assistant coach and hoped for the best.
In 2015, with Glover Jr. calling the shots, the Blue Tide went 3-6, winning three games for the first time since 2010.
It should have been enough in Harrison to honor Glover Jr. with a parade.
However, the school district honored him by failing to re-hire him for the 2016 season.
“I felt like I got the short end of the stick,” Glover Jr. said. “I felt like I really didn’t get a fair chance there.”
So then Glover Jr. searched around for another opportunity. He remained patient and steadfast for that chance.
“It’s a passion of mine,” Glover Jr. said. “I never thought about giving it up.”
Then, out of the blue, the head coaching position opened up at Marist for the 2017 season. Glover Jr. applied and lo and behold, he got the job. Another chance at being a head coach, right in his Hudson County backyard.
“I felt it was a perfect fit,” said the 34-year-old Glover Jr., who is a teacher at Primary Prep in the Jersey City school system. “I had everything I needed.”
But as the dark cloud of doom hovered about, Glover Jr. received some more bad news. Marist was going to close because of decreased enrollment and a failure to produce enough revenues from tuitions.
Glover Jr. could not catch a break. He was just introduced to the returning players and set up a weight training regimen for the offseason when it is announced that the school is closing.
“I thought maybe I should go into college coaching,” said Glover Jr., who was an assistant coach at New Mexico State a few years ago. “I felt like I still had it in me. I wasn’t about to give up.”
Well, as it turns out, Glover Jr. received a reprieve. The school’s administration did an about-face and announced that it will remain open for the 2017-18 scholastic school year. What happens after that is anybody’s guess, but for now, Marist will open its doors in September and will have a football team.
And Glover Jr. will finally get his chance, his redemption, with Pops right alongside. Too bad Marist doesn’t have Harrison on the schedule.
So what did Glover Jr. do when he received news that Marist would remain open?
“I said, ‘Let’s go to work,’” Glover Jr. said. “I was excited. I wanted to know how many kids were coming back. I knew we lost a few who transferred out, but a lot of them stayed. I didn’t think we had a chance to build something right away, but now, I’m not so sure. We’re in the weight room every day and acting as if nothing ever happened. We’re moving ahead.”
And Glover Jr. realized a good way to attract more students, especially males.
“What a better way to get kids to come to the school than to have a good football team,” Glover Jr. said. “We’re going to have a young team. We also have to build confidence. The oldest kid in the weight room has won only one game in his career. We’re building from ground zero.”
Glover Jr. is ready to tackle that slice of adversity.
“I know it’s a challenge, but I’m ready to take on that challenge,” Glover Jr. said. “One of the main reasons why I wanted the job is that I know some of the incoming freshmen.”
Glover Jr. also knows that there were two other area schools, namely St. Anthony and Queen of Peace in North Arlington, that are indeed closing. Those football players are going to be looking for a place to play.
“We’re trying to get some of those kids now,” Glover Jr. said. “I’m very excited about this chance. I enjoy showing the facilities and the program to possible students. At the end of the day, we’re letting them see and make a decision. I think we’re getting more and more interest. Little by little, we’re getting there.”
So when it appeared as if the dark cloud was going to swallow Glover Jr. once again, he pushed through the clouds and the sun is shining at the Jersey City-Bayonne border.
“We’re doing good if we can get 19 kids to play in the fall,” Glover Jr. said.
And will Dad be there as well?
“You know that will happen,” Glover Jr.
Maybe the kids at Marist will do themselves a favor and Google Rich Glover’s name and read his accomplishments and achievements.
“He’s in it to win it,” Glover Jr. said. “There’s still that fire burning in him.”
The elder Glover will hold his annual camp, free of charge, for local youngsters at Caven Point Cochrane Field in a few weeks. After that, it’s all about being part of Royalty, the Royal Knights’ royalty. Marist is alive and well and has a football coach who wants to keep it that way.