A true Buc will lead Bogota on the football field this fall.
Bogota has hired Kevin Bayani as its new head coach. The 2005 graduate of the school has been an assistant coach with the program since 2011.
“It’s crazy. If you had asked me a year ago if I would be the head coach, I would have said no,” said Bayani, 28. “It really all came together in the last couple of months. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m anxious.”
After leaving Bogota, Bayani played for Lehigh and was a 2008 team captain. He graduated with a degree in business and economics.
He accepted a job in Bogota and felt a natural pull to coach the Bucs. He’s most recently been their offensive and defensive line coach.
Bogota finished 6-4 in 2014 under Nick DeStefano, losing in the first round of the North 1, Group 1 playoffs to Becton. The program has been up and down, dropping to the junior varsity level in 2010 due to decreased numbers. In 2006, the Bucs went 12-0 and won a sectional title.
Bayani said keeping the participation numbers up is crucial.
“I really think it starts with the youth program and the recreation department. Just rebuilding the relationships there will translate into kids playing for the high school,” Bayani said. “I think that’s the long-term picture. Now I’m just trying to be as vocal as I can.”
Bayani sold his knowledge of the town and program and plans to keep the bulk of the staff intact.
“We are coming off a winning season, but I think just to revitalize the town spirit, it helps to have a Bogota guy in there,” Bayani said. “I really went with the fact that I played here. I know the town. I have been around the team and the system, so it would be a smooth transition.”
ORLOWSKI RETIRES: After 20 seasons, one sectional title and 323 wins, Leonia boys basketball coach Fran Orlowski announced his retirement.
“I just know it’s time,” said Orlowski, 62. “I enjoyed every minute of it. I have had a lot of dedicated teams.”
Orlowski’s most notable season was in 2007, when the Lions finished 25-2. It remains the only Leonia team to go undefeated in league play. Orlowski also was known for starting the Lee Clark scholarship for a Leonia senior player.
Now he plans on improving his golf game and spending time with his grandkids.
“It’s been a good run,” Orlowski said.
SRD TABS HODGE: Saddle River Day has named Ed Hodge its head boys basketball coach.
“We are intent on becoming an elite boys basketball program,” athletic director Danny Brown said in a statement. “Hodge is energetic, passionate and tough, and his contagious, competitive fire will bring unmatched vigor to our boys basketball program.”
AN HONOR FOR MAC: Former St. Mary’s assistant softball coach Jim MacDonald, a.k.a. Coach Mac, has been named one of the honorary coaches for the North team at the fourth annual Super 36 All-Star softball game. MacDonald died last June after decades coaching softball players throughout North Jersey.
“When we first did our game in 2012, we asked coaches to nominate other coaches, and Mac’s name came up a ton of times,” said Rob Stern, the game’s organizer and assistant coach at Mount St. Dominic’s. “We said he should be on the staff every year. He was laughing at that. Mac had never been one for the spotlight.”
The game will be June 8 at Ivy Hill Park on the campus of Seton Hall. A pregame ceremony honoring MacDonald will be held. Paramus Catholic coach Frank Baldino will serve as head coach for the North.