MAPLEWOOD – After joining the Columbia High School football coaching staff last season following a successful stint at Rahway High School, Gary Mobley has been promoted to head coach of the Cougars.
Mobley served as the defensive coordinator for John Power, who last month stepped down as head coach after two seasons to become the new head coach at Morristown High School.
The Cougars are coming off a 5-5 season in which they qualified for the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 5 playoffs, an improvement from the 1-9 season in 2014. It was their first state playoff appearance since 2010, the second of two straight years they made the postseason.
The CHS football program, however, hasn’t enjoyed consistent success, and that is something that Mobley hopes to change.
“Columbia has a great reputation throughout the state, as far as academics and athletics is concerned. I am just excited about the possibilities,” Mobley said. “Traditionally, the ceiling (for the football program) has been really low at Columbia, and we are looking to raise that up. But I am very excited to get to work with the kids. Getting to know the kids last year, there are some very good kids and very good talent.”
Mobley also has been encouraged by the school and community support.
“There is great support. The community is one that is well-regarded throughout the state and something I am really looking to be a part of,” he said.
Mobley, a 1986 graduate at Union High School where he was a standout defensive back for the late legendary football coach Lou Rettino, served as the Rahway head coach for 11 seasons, 2004-2014. In that span, he took the team to the playoffs nine times, including eight semifinal appearances and one championship appearance in 2008.
In all, Mobley had an impressive 74-44 record at Rahway.
The Cougars return several notable starters, including current sophomore quarterback Brandon Robinson, junior running back Kiambu Jones and junior offensive lineman Jabreil Salaam.
Mobley said the Cougars expect to return five or six players on both sides of the ball.
“We have full-on potential,” said Mobley, who played at Division 1 Temple University on a football scholarship. “We have the makings of a very good team with the returning guys that we have. We have a sprinkling of good talent that I am looking forward to continuing to develop and see them grow and flourish.”
The Cougars plan to partake in their strength and conditioning program this summer before training camp begins in August.
Mobley admits to being a positive guy, and that is why he feels the Cougars can continue to build on last year’s success.
“We took a step last year and I look to take another step this year,” said Mobley, whose assistant coaches also worked with him at Rahway. “We want to be above .500 and we want to make the (state sectional) playoffs, and I would consider that a successful season.”
To Mobley, it’s all about looking to the future. With hard work and dedication, guided by a veteran coaching, the future appears bright.
“We don’t really care about what has happened in the past. It’s a new crew, a new day. We got a talented group of guys with an experienced coaching staff that knows how to game-plan.
“We have proven that in Union County and we are going to continue that.”