WEST ORANGE, NJ – For close to two decades, the West Orange High School boys’ soccer program has been one of the best in the state under head coach Doug Nevins.
The Mountaineers have achieved numerous accolades thanks to Nevins’ guidance.
With West Orange’s win over Livingston on Sept. 21, Nevins notched another milestone.
The 2-1 victory was Nevins’ 300th in his career, all with the Mountaineers.
Kalleo Mendes scored two goals in the second half to give WOHS a 2-0 lead in this Super Essex Conference-American Division. West Orange won its fourth straight to improve to 4-1.
Nevins, who has been the head coach for the Mountaineers since 2000, has built a perennial contender at WOHS.
Nevins’ teams won two New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 4 state championships in 2006 and 2013. WOHS also was NJSIAA Group 4 state runner-up in 2015.
In addition, Nevins has led WOHS to six Essex County Tournament finals appearances, including two ECT titles in 2003 as co-champs with Montclair, and in 2006. WOHS was ECT runner-up in 2002 ,2004, 2010 and 2012.
Under Nevins, the Mountaineers have appeared in 10 NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state tournament championship games, winning it six times (2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2015). They were sectional tournament runner-up in 2004, 2007, 2012 and 2016.
Nevins’ teams also won five conference championships (four in the defunct Northern Hills Conference and one in the Super Essex Conference-American Division).
Nevins is a 1991 graduate of Seton Hall Prep where he played for current SHP head coach Marty Berman. Nevins then enjoyed a great soccer career at Villanova University. Nevins was inducted into the Villanova University Hall of Fame in 2013.
Nevins thanked his players over the years for their dedication to the WOHS soccer program. He especially was grateful for many of them who were in attendance at Friday’s game.
“It is really cool to think back on all the past teams and players. Many of them came to the game, which was amazing!” Nevins said. “Crazy to think how fast 18 years goes by. I have been blessed to coach so many great players along the way. Everyone knows the All-State players, but I can’t help to think of the blue collar guys and great character guys that have helped build this into a consistent winning program.
“In addition, I have been blessed to work with great assistant coaches: Stephan Zichella, Bob Klemt, Jason Brelinsky, Matt Sleece, Dave Alfano, Steve Van der Pleug, Matt Zielyk, and Jesse Aporta are great people that helped me with Freshman or JV. Freddy Christian has been my JV coach for a while now and I am so thankful that he is a huge part of my family and my life.
“(WOHS girls’ varsity soccer head coach) Sean Devore was an incredible assistant and is now one of the best head coaches in the state: he led Northern Highlands boys to many titles, including the Group 3 state champs in 2013; and now he has our girls’ team ranked No. 7 in New Jersey. Charlie Rowan helped me after Sean and reminded me how important it was to have fun with the kids. Austin Alvarado helped me next, and as a former player, understood how I think in a way most people could not. Greg Marchesi has been my assistant since 2014 and he is such a positive presence and calming influence, on and off the field. I am truly thankful to have coached with all of them.
“Next, I want to thank my high school coach, Marty Berman, for showing me how to make a high school team fun and successful. Also, my college coach, Larry Sullivan, who not only taught me so much about the game, but taught me about how to bond and relate with your players. Fred Sisbarro, the WOHS coach before me, was a great mentor and continues to be a good friend. Carol Kulik was the (Athletic Director) that hired me and took a chance on a 26-year-old with no experience. Thanks, Carol. David Doty was the AD when we won our first Group 4 state championship and was a big supporter of the program. Thanks, David. Ron Bigh has been the AD since and comes to every game. He is great to the kids and does whatever he can to help and support us. Thanks, Ron.”
Nevins also thanked his family.
“To my parents, Charlie and Mary Ann Nevins, thank you for being my biggest cheerleaders when I was a kid and for shaping me into the man I am today. To my sister, Mary Beth, and my brother, Matthew, thanks for putting up with me and for always having my back. Also special thanks to my in-laws, Pic and Sue Longo, for always supporting me and for driving all the way from Cape May to cheer my teams on. And to the rest of my friends and family, I love you all – couldn’t have done it without you.
“Finally, I want to thank my wife Angie and daughter Natalie for being my biggest supporters; cheering us on when we won and picking me up when we lost. There is no way I could have reached a milestone like this without the two of you. Angie, thank you, for the pasta parties, the great ideas for ways to make the kids enjoy the experience like senior banners, and making suggestions and texting me advice during the games. As Roger Rubenetti of Livingston always says, “We know who the real head coach is.” But in all seriousness, wherever we play, if you look in the stands, you will see Angie Nevins at a West Orange boys’ game. Natalie, thank you, for making me remember that it’s only a game and that no matter what the results are, I will always be loved and adored. I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter. The hardest losses were so much easier when coming home to you – and the biggest wins were so much sweater sharing them with you and Mom!”
As for the team, Nevins said, “The team is doing very well; the league is so hard. We have been solid defensively and are starting to become more dangerous in the attack. We still have some things to iron out, but the potential to be really dangerous in counties and states is there. Looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Photos courtesy of Buzz 1441
West Orange vs. Livingston, Sept. 21