IRVINGTON, NJ – In the household of former Irvington High School football star Alshermond Singleton, it’s a good bet that his wife, Badia, gets most of the attention from the couple’s two young daughters.
After all, their mother is a fine actress and is currently appearing in the hit Broadway musical – “School of Rock.”
But in the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, Alshermond Singleton was one of the most talked about football players in the Garden State.
After a fine high school career at linebacker and tight end for Irvington, Singleton enjoyed a top college career at Temple University. He then went on to the NFL and played six years for Tampa Bay and four with Dallas. The highlight came in 2002 when the Buccaneers went 12-4 during the regular season, and then chalked up three wins in the playoffs, culminating with a decisive 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl.
That season was certainly a special thrill for Singleton, but he’ll get another top thrill on May 10 when he’s inducted into the Irvington High School Hall of Fame.
“I have fond memories of my days playing football at Irvington,” said Singleton, who keeps busy these days serving as an assistant coach for the pigskin squad at FDU-Madison. “In my junior and senior years, I learned a lot about the game under the coaching of Chet Parlavecchio. Some 25 years after I graduated, we’re still very close. Heck, when I was at Temple, he was my linebacker coach for one year.”
After his NFL career was over, Singleton later got to reunite with Parlavecchio as an assistant coach at Passaic Valley. He also served as an assistant at Morris Knolls and The College of New Jersey.
Singleton, who went from 6-2, 185 in high school ball to 6-2, 225 in the pro ranks, honed his skills by going up against tough competition.
“In my time at Irvington, the Watchung Conference was very strong,” said Singleton. “And then in college ball, the Big East was very challenging.
“I think it’s tougher going from high school to college, then from college to the pros. When you get to college, everyone on the field seems to be very talented. It’s not quite like that in high school play.”
At Tampa Bay, Singleton enjoyed playing for Tony Dungy. But when the Bucs won the Super Bowl, the head coach was Jon Gruden.
“We had a very good defense, but I think Coach Gruden was more offense-minded,” remarked Singleton, who scored two touchdowns in his NFL career. “Brad Johnson did a nice job at QB the year we won the Super Bowl. But I think defense was key in that game because Rich Gannon was a very good quarterback for Oakland.” Gannon was the 2002 league MVP.
Singleton and his mates were dominant in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After beating the 49ers, 31-6, at home, the Bucs rolled by the Eagles, 27-10, on the road. Oakland, meanwhile, scored 71 points in its first two games in the post-season.
“I had a lot of chills when I ran out of the Super Bowl tunnel heading onto the field,” recalled Singleton. “The atmosphere is unreal, but you have to tell yourself it’s just another football game.”
Singleton was happy he went to college at Temple, but at one point was thinking about attending Rutgers or Tulane.
“I really saw some great players in the Big East,” said Singleton, who is very proud of his wife’s achievements. “In the NFL, the guy who impressed me the most was running back Barry Sanders of the Lions. He was just so elusive on the field.”
Before getting into the coaching field after his playing days were over, Singleton operated a dry cleaning business in Morris County, where he presently resides. But football has always been in his blood.
“It’s nice to work together as a team to get good results,” said Singleton. “I wanted to keep on getting better and better in the game, and I think I did just that.”
GRID NOTES – In his time at Irvington under Parlavecchio, who was a star LB at Seton Hall Prep and Penn State, IHS went 9-9… During the regular season in 2002, Johnson had 22 TD passes and threw for 3,049 yards.. Singleton’s TDs in the NFL came on a blocked punt and interception… Growing up in Irvington, Singleton was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.