Jeremy Schulte is doing something that perhaps no one has ever done in Shore Conference football history – directly succeeding his father as head coach of the same school in the conference.
Schulte, who was the defensive coordinator at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School for the past six seasons while his father Jerry was the Bulldogs head coach, is entering his first season as head coach.
Jerry Schulte will be his son’s defensive coordinator. Jerry Schulte served as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator for 11 seasons under head coaches Shane Fallon and Bryan Batchler before becoming head coach.
“It’s really cool,” Jeremy Schulte said Aug. 9 during the first Shore Conference football media day at Monmouth University. “I think that was a huge plus for me. I got to see the inner workings of how things go when it comes to being a head coach.
“I was in the building the whole time he was the head coach. I saw the things they don’t always tell you about being a head coach, so none of that surprised me. He’s put this program in a great position where we’re one of the best teams in the state year after year. It’s great to keep it going. I’m looking forward to it.” ‘
Other Shore Conference father and son head coaches
It is believed that Ron Signorino Sr. and Ron Signorino Jr. are the only other father and son to serve as head football coaches at the same Shore Conference school.
They were both head coaches at Toms River-Toms River South. Toms River High School became Toms River High School South in 1969.
But, Ron Signorino Jr. did not directly succeed his father. Ron Signorino Sr. was the successful head coach of Toms River-Toms River South from 1964 to 1978 and again the head coach of Toms River South from 1997 to 2000. Ron Signorino Jr., was the head coach of Toms River South from 2011 to 2021.
Other father and sons to serve as Shore Conference head coaches were: Chip LaBarca Sr. and Chip LaBarca Jr.; George Conti Sr. and George Conti Jr.; Butch Bruno and Bill Bruno and Joe Oxley and John Oxley.
Chip LaBarca Sr. was the highly successful head coach of Keansburg, then Toms River South. Chip LaBarca Jr., currently offensive coordinator at Donovan Catholic, served as head coach at Lakewood and then had a successful tenure as head coach at Toms River High School North.
George Conti Sr. was the head coach of Mater Dei Prep and George Conti Jr., had successful tenures as head coach at Keyport, Asbury Park and Ocean Township.
Butch Bruno was the longtime coach at Asbury Park. Bill Bruno was the head coach of Pinelands Regional.
Joe Oxley was the head coach of Raritan and John Oxley was the head coach of Middletown High School North.
Tom Farrell, currently Superintendent of Brick Township Schools, was the head coach of Monsignor Donovan, now Donovan Catholic. His son, Tom Jr., is entering his first season as head coach at Manchester Township High School.
The Schulte name has been a constant in Shore Conference football
Like the Signorino family, who will now have a third-generation head coach with Matt Martin entering his first season as head coach of Toms River South and the LaBarca, Conti and Bruno families, the Schulte family is a staple of the history of Shore Conference football.
Jerry Schulte coached the Shore Conference for 48 years, including as head coach at Mater Dei Prep and Wall, in addition to Rumson-Fair Haven.
But Jeremy Schulte didn’t think he would follow in his father’s footsteps after his father became the head coach of Rumson Fair-Haven in 2016.
“Even then I was kind of like that (being a head coach) is not something I want to do. I just want to do Xs and O’s,” said Jeremy Schulte.
Jeremy Schulte, who was a player for Ocean Township’s 2005 NJSIAA Central Group 3 Championship team, said his school head coach, Sal Spampanato, described him as “another on-field coach ” at a team banquet.
“I was not the best player in the world,” said Jeremy Schulte. “I played in a very good team.
How Jeremy Schulte wanted to become a head coach
Reflecting on his playing career, Jeremy Schulte enrolled at Brookdale Community College after graduating from Ocean in the spring of 2006.
Shane Fallon, who is currently in his second season as head coach of Red Bank Regional, was the head coach of Rumson-Fair Haven at the time and asked Jeremy Schulte to join the team.
“After I started coaching, I liked it straight away,” said Jeremy Schulte.
Eventually, Jeremy Schulte earned a four-year college degree. He became a teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven at the same time his father became the head coach. Over time, he began to have head coaching itch.
“Once I could see how everything was going and what to expect, I started to realize that this was really for me,” said Jeremy Schulte. “I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to resume my own program.”
Becoming the boys’ athletics head coach three years ago also helped convince Jeremy Schulte that being a football head coach was in his future. The Rumson-Fair Haven men’s track team won its first Shore Conference Division Championship last spring.
What Jeremy Schulte learned from his father
Jeremy Schulte takes over a program that has been one of the Shore’s best in recent seasons.
The Bulldogs have won six NJSIAA Sectional Championships, one regional title and appeared in 11 Sectional Championship games since 2010 under Fallon, Batchler and Jerry Schulte.
Jeremy Schulte hopes he has taken the lessons he learned from his father and applied them.
“I think the first thing I learned was patience,” said Jeremy Schulte. “You just have to know that every day we deal with high school students. They are not professional athletes. They don’t need to be treated that way. They must be treated, as they are, like high school students. I think if we get there, we will succeed. Let him teach me that it’s really a big thing, and some stuff about defense.
Meanwhile, Jerry Schulte will be able to do what he really loves to do – plan how to stop an opposing attack.
“He’s doing great,” Jeremy Schulte said. “He loves life. He just manages to do Xs and O’s now.