Gov. Livingston coach Chris Roof goes for career victory No. 400 against No. 3 Cranford on Friday.
The season began with eight coaching victories milestones in the crosshairs. Two of those milestones have fallen and five more should be knocked off by early next week.
Already salted away are wins No. 800 for Seton Hall Prep’s Mike Sheppard, Jr. and No. 200 for Millburn’s Brian Chapman.
Kingsway’s Bill Alvaro, who spent much of his career at Washington Twp., will have an opportunity today to become the state’s 60th coach with at least 400 wins. Kingsway plays Northern Burlington this afternoon in the first round of the 47th Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic.
Gov. Livingston’s Chris Roof will take the field on Friday as the unranked Highlanders play host to Cranford, No. 3 in the NJ.com Top 20. Roof’s charges will be the underdog but hardly a decided one. Should the 9-3 Highlands fall short on Friday, they will have another shot on Saturday against Plainfield in the first round of the Union County Tournament.
And the milestones get bigger from here.
Next up, likely, is the affable Sam Tropiano of Bishop Eustace (12-0), which has been designated this week at the No. 1 team in the NJ.com Top 20. Tropiano needs just two more wins to become the sixth coach in New Jersey history to reach 700 wins. Trop’ has Maple Shade today in a Diamond Classic opener and Camden tomorrow. You have to like his chances of putting that major milestone in his rearview mirror.
The other two milestones about to crumble in the wake of coaching greatness are real big ones. Gloucester Catholic’s Dennis Barth is just three wins shy of career victory No. 500. The coach with the state’s best all-time winning percentage will have his Rams on the field today, tomorrow and Saturday with a very good chance to sweep his way to the milestone.
And the man at the top of the victories list, Kenny Frank of Toms River South, has crept to within three wins of becoming New Jersey’s first 900-game winner. Frank’s Indians have struggled to a 3-8 start and face a Shore Conference gauntlet over the next several days. But No. 900 is on very tenuous ground.
Finally, Gary Sarno, in his first season at Paul VI, has his team at 6-5 and in need of 13 more victories to reach the 500 club. It will require quite a finish but Sarno is closing in, nonetheless.