There are a pair of new cross-country coaches in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference this fall. And although Cresskill’s Chris Woodford and Weehawken’s Kyle Mahoney are first-year head coaches, neither is a stranger to the Bergen County cross-country community.
Woodford, 31, ran for Old Tappan and served as an assistant to Mike Pasciuto for the last five years before Pasciuto left to become an assistant principal at Glen Rock. Woodford also served as the head indoor coach last year and as an assistant in the spring for the past seven seasons. Cresskill won the past two Bergen D and NJIC Patriot cross-country titles and finished sixth and eighth in the state Group 1 the past two years.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” said Woodford, who graduated from Ramapo College in 2007 and also will be the head girls spring coach. “From high school through college and now here at Cresskill, I’ve had a chance to work with great coaches like Paul Capuzzo, Rob DeCarlo, Mike Burke and Brad Vaccaro in high school, and here with Mike [Pasciuto], Rich Miller, Kevin Quinn and everyone else.
“Mike and I have similar philosophies and goals, and we have a lot of talent that could make us a surprise this season. It’s nice to be in charge, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Although the challenge of replacing a successful coach is one thing, the challenge for 22-year-old Kyle Mahoney is something different.
Mahoney, a recent graduate of Ramapo College, is the first cross-country coach in Weehawken history and the first track coach in many decades for the Indians.
“It’s a little scary,” said Mahoney, the son of longtime Bogota cross-country and basketball coach Jay Mahoney. “When Stan [NJIC executive director] Fryczynski posted the job on the league website, I didn’t take it seriously at first. But I wanted to try and get it, and I was fortunate to be selected. My dad couldn’t believe it.”
Kyle Mahoney has jumped right in, holding his first practice early last week with six prospective runners, just one a senior.
“And I know there are going to be more kids out as we get closer to the beginning of school,” said Mahoney, who ran at Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Ramapo College. “No one has experience, so we’re starting from scratch. I’ll have to concentrate on teaching them how to warm up and how to stretch and just try and get them to enjoy running like I do.”