GLEN RIDGE, NJ – Duke Mendez, who guided the Glen Ridge High School football program for 26 seasons in two stints, was inducted into the Essex County Football Coaches Hall of Fame during the 25th annual Paul Robeson High School Football Classic on June 14 at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange.
Mendez was part of this year’s induction class. The other inductees were East Orange legendary head coach Tom Dean, former Weequahic standout and assistant coach Irvin “Poochie” Hill, and Belleville assistant coach Joseph D’Ambola. Dean and D’Ambola were honored posthumously.
Mendez, who retired as head coach at the end of last season, was the Ridgers head coach for a total of 26 seasons spanning two stints, 1985 to 1995 and 2003 to 2017. He led the Ridgers to the state playoffs for the fifth straight season last fall as the Ridgers finished with a 6-4 record.