Bob Auriemma is a man who has probably affected 10,000 lives, estimated school board president John Lamela Thursday night, as he led the district in send-off that included kudos for decades of shaping lives on and off the ice.
The legendary ice hockey coach started in Brick in 1962, when he moved his family here from West New York. He was a teacher, and upon moving to Brick, immediately volunteered to coach football and start a recreational ice hockey program. Eventually, Auriemma would help define Brick’s pasttime as much as his head football coach, Warren Wolf – few would deny Brick is a “hockey town” as much as it is a “football town.”
“He created a team to fear in New Jersey,” said Interim Superintendent Dennis Filippone, who played for Auriemma when he was a student at the high school which he later led as principal. “He has been an educator, coach and mentor, and I’m glad to call him a great friend.”
Auriemma, a man of few words at a ceremony in his honor, accepted proclamations from New Jersey senate and assembly, stating “his high ideals and dedication as an educator have promoted excellence in the classroom and promoted development of countless students.”
Auriemma was a defensive football coach from 1962 to 1980 and assistant baseball coach in 1963. He was the assistant high school club hockey coach under Warren Wolf in 1962 and 1963. In 1964 he took over as head coach, cultivating a dynamic and effective ice hockey program. In a career that lasted through the 2016-17 season, he acquired over 729 wins, making him the winningest hockey coach in NJ and the third winningest hockey coach in the country.
In 1969, to further improve the hockey program, and to give more children an opportunity to learn the game, he along with Joe McKeon and Jim Blackburn, decided to create the Brick Hockey Club for the children of Brick. On the high school level, he guided the Dragons to numerous championships, 6 State Championships, 5 Public School State Championships, 8 Gordon Cup Championships, The Handchen Cup Shore Conference Champions and the Dowd Cup Shore Conference Champions.
Auriemma, presented with plaques and proclamations, said it was his fellow coaches and support from the community that helped him achieve such a level of success.
“I accept this on their behalf, for all of the things they’ve done for hockey,” he said.
“Coach Auriemma has instilled, not only the love of the sports to his athletes, but he has also taught them life lessons that would guide them throughout their lives,” said Filippone. “He has been an educator, a coach, a mentor and a friend.”