WEST ORANGE, NJ — The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Darnell Grant, West Orange High School’s head football coach, as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 9 of the 2020 season. Grant is in his second season as head coach of the Mountaineers, who ended their season with a six-game winning streak, after losing their opener to St. Peter’s Prep, the top-ranked team in the state. The Mountaineers won the Liberty White Division of the Super Essex Conference.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award is part of the Giants’ continuing effort to support local youth football programs. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School coach Lou Rettino for his commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes’ lives. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants selected one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The selection is based on the coach’s continuing commitment toward promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and his overall community involvement.
In recognition of Grant’s selection as Coach of the Week, a $2,000 check will be granted to the school’s football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. He will also receive a certificate of recognition signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants head coach Joe Judge.
Prior to his time with the Mountaineers, Grant served as head coach at Shabazz High School for nine years. During his time at Shabazz, he won two state championships and appeared in the state finals three times in a five-year span. Grant was also named New Jersey Coach of the Year in 2014, inducted into the Essex County Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015, named NAACP 2017 Sportsman of the Year and named as one of New Jersey’s 50 Winningest Active Head Coaches in 2018. With West Orange athletics going through a complete overhaul during the past five years, Grant was tasked with putting the Mountaineers on the map.
“Coach Grant is a young man of great integrity and a real family man,” said Ron Bligh, director of athletics for the West Orange School District. “In two short seasons he has changed the entire culture of our football program, making our student-athletes believe in themselves and as a team what they can achieve.”
Grant is known for his wealth of knowledge for the game of football and his ability to develop his young players through mentorship and accountability, according to a press release from the Giants. Academics come first in Grant’s program and he expects daily academic reports and a grade-point average of at least a 3.0 from his players. Grant creates opportunities for his players to prepare for their future by going on college tours and holding them to high standards.