Jeremy Schulte follows in his father's footsteps as Rumson-Fair Haven head football coach

·6 min read

Jeremy Schulte is doing something that perhaps nobody in the history of Shore Conference football has ever done – directly succeed his father as the head coach at the same school in the conference.

Schulte, who was the defensive coordinator at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School the past six seasons while his father Jerry was the Bulldogs’ head coach, enters his first season as a head coach.

Jerry Schulte will be his son’s defensive coordinator. Jerry Schulte was the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator for 11 seasons under head coaches Shane Fallon and Bryan Batchler before he became the head coach.

More:New head coach for Rumson-Fair Haven football but same winning expectations

“It’s really cool,’’ Jeremy Schulte said at the Shore Conference’s first Football Media Day Aug. 9 at Monmouth University. “I think it’s been a huge benefit for me. I’ve been able to see the inner workings of how things go when it comes to being a head coach.

Jeremy Schulte, shown during a 7-on-7 involving Rumson-Fair Haven, Ocean, Monmouth and Middletown South, is beginning his first season as Rumson-Fair Haven's head coach. He succeeds his father, Jerry, as the Bulldogs' head coach.
Jeremy Schulte, shown during a 7-on-7 involving Rumson-Fair Haven, Ocean, Monmouth and Middletown South, is beginning his first season as Rumson-Fair Haven's head coach. He succeeds his father, Jerry, as the Bulldogs' head coach.

“I was in the building for the whole time he was the head coach. I’ve seen the things they don’t always tell you about being the head coach, so none of that came as a surprise to me. He’s put this program in a great position where we’re one of the best teams in the state year in and year out. It’s awesome to keep that going. I’m looking forward to it.’’

Other father and son head coaches in the Shore Conference

It is believed Ron Signorino Sr. and Ron Signorino Jr. are the only other father and son to be 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 Toms River-Toms River South’s highly successful head coach from 1964-78 and again Toms River South’s head coach from 1997-2000. Ron Signorino Jr. was Toms River South’s head coach from 2011-2021.

Other father and sons to have been head coaches in the Shore Conference 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 at Keansburg and then Toms River South. Chip LaBarca Jr., currently the offensive coordinator at Donovan Catholic, was the 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 at Mater Dei Prep and George Conti Jr., had successful tenures as the head coach at Keyport, Asbury Park and Ocean Township.

Butch Bruno was the successful long-time coach at Asbury Park. Bill Bruno was the head coach at Pinelands Regional.

Joe Oxley was the head coach at Raritan and John Oxley was the head coach at Middletown High School North.

Tom Farrell, currently the Superintendent of Schools in Brick Township, was the head coach at Monsignor Donovan, now Donovan Catholic. His son, Tom Jr., is beginning his first season as the head coach at Manchester Township High School.

Schulte name a constant in Shore football

Like the Signorino family, which now will have a third generation head coach with Matt Martin beginning his first season as Toms River South’s head coach and the LaBarca, Conti and Bruno families, the Schulte family is a staple in the history of Shore Conference football.

Jerry Schulte, shown in August, 2021, has been a coach in Shore Conference football for 48 years.
Jerry Schulte, shown in August, 2021, has been a coach in Shore Conference football for 48 years.

Jerry Schulte has been a coach in the Shore Conference for 48 years, including stints as the head coach at Mater Dei Prep and Wall, in addition to Rumson-Fair Haven.

But, Jeremy Schulte did not think he would follow in his father’s footsteps after his father became Rumson Fair-Haven’s head coach in 2016.

“Even at that time, I was kind of like that (being a head coach) is not something I want to do. I just want to do X and O’s,’’ Jeremy Schulte said.

Jeremy Schulte, who was a player on Ocean Township’s 2005 NJSIAA Central Group 3 championship team, said his scholastic head coach, Sal Spampanato, described him as "another coach on the field" at a team banquet.

“I wasn’t the best player in the world,’’ Jeremy Schulte said. “I played on a really good team.’’

The itch grows

Thinking his playing career over, Jeremy Schulte enrolled at Brookdale Community College after he graduated from Ocean in the spring of 2006.

Shane Fallon, who is currently in his second season as Red Bank Regional’s head coach, was Rumson-Fair Haven’s head coach at the time and asked Jeremy Schulte to join the staff.

“After I got started coaching, I did enjoy it right off the bat,’’ Jeremy Schulte said.

Eventually, Jeremy Schulte got a four-year collegiate degree. He became a teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven the same time his father became the head coach. Over time, he started to get the head coaching itch.

“Once I got to see how everything goes and what to expect, I started to realize it was really for me,’’ Jeremy Schulte said. “I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to take over my own program.’’

Becoming the boys track and field head coach three years ago also helped convince Jeremy Schulte that being a football head coach was in his future. Rumson-Fair Haven’s boys track and field team won its first Shore Conference divisional championship last spring.

Learning from 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 will hope he has taken the lessons he has learned from his father and apply them.

“I think the No. 1 thing I’ve learned is patience,’’ Jeremy Schulte said. “Just knowing that every day we’re dealing with high school kids. They’re not professional athletes. They don’t need to be treated that way. They need to be treated, as they are, as high school kids. I think if we’re able to do that, we’ll be successful. Him teaching me that is a really a big thing, and a few things about defense.''

Meanwhile, Jerry Schulte will be able to do what he really loves to do – plan how to stop an opposing offense.

“He’s doing great,’’ Jeremy Schulte said. “He’s loving life. He just gets to do X’s and O’s now.’’

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Shore Conference football 2022: Jeremy Schulte at Rumson on unique path