IRVINGTON, NJ – Former Irvington High School coaches Kurt Fenchel and Rob Osieja were both elected for enshrinement into the New Jersey State Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place March 24 at the The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village in Princeton.
In all, 38 coaches will be inducted.
Fenchel and Osieja join Marvin Hawkins as the only Irvington inductees. Hawkins was inducted in 2018.
Osieja, an Irvington native, served as the IHS boys soccer coach from 1980-83. In five seasons, he had a 55-22-5 record, including winning the 1983 Watchung Conference Championship. Osieja then coached at Paul VI from 1984-87. He coached Chatham from 1988-1990, and had a 53-11-2 record, including winning the 1988 Group II State Championship, and was named the NJ Boys Soccer Coach of the Year by the Star-Ledger.
Osieja had other soccer coaching stops at Passaic Valley, Governor Livingston, and Elmwood Park. He was also the girls soccer coach at Saddle Brook for four years and was the head boys soccer coach at Cresskill.
Most of his career wins were at Irvington High School. Osieja later turned his focus to track & field, and was the coach at Bloomfield for three years, and later had appointments at North Star Academy, Pascack Valley, Hanover Park. He also is the current head track coach at Indian Hills in Oakland.
Osieja has been picked Coach of the Year four times in three different counties – Morris, Essex and twice in Passaic.
Osieja said he is greatly honored to be inducted into the State Coaches Hall of Fame.
“I’m humbled and honored to be inducted into the NJSCA Hall of Fame in 2019,” said Osieja in a statement. “Never did I think, when I was growing up in Irvington somewhere down the line that I would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the twilight of my career. I have many people to thank for the success my athletes and I have had. My initial head coaching colleagues, Bill Kazdoba (soccer) and Bill Berger (basketball) had a big influence on my career. They guided me as a young coach and taught me X’s and O’s and all the other intangibles of life and coaching. I will forever be thankful to them.
“The most important thing to me in coaching is the inter-personal relationships that you build with your athletes. Producing life-long connections with your players means the world to me. Recently, I was contacted by players from my 1988 triple crown winning (state, county and conference champions) Chatham High School soccer team through Facebook. They want to get together for our 30th year anniversary of the historic first combined Chatham schools program. These are the kinds of things (that) mean the most to me in my career.”
Fenchel was the head boys basketball coach for 12 years at Irvington and was the head girls coach for two years prior. He won state titles at Irvington, Franklin, and Manasquan, and was named County Coach of the Year in four different counties: Essex, Somerset, Monmouth, and Ocean. At Irvington, he led the boys basketball team to conference, county, sectional and Group state championships in the 1992-93 season in which the team went 24-2.
Fenchel is the current coach at Brookdale Community College, and won the 2018 Men’s Junior College National Championship.