FAIR LAWN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACHES
By Dick Engelhardt
With the resignation of Coach Stan Miles to spend more time with his young family, I thought it would be fun to look at the 10 Head Football Coaches at Fair Lawn High since the school opened September 13th, 1943:
1943-44 Martin “Marty” Fischbein 9-4-2 (.692). Marty’s brand new team went 2-1 (.697) in JV action to get started and then posted 4-1-1 (.800) and 5-3-1 (.625) records in those 1st 2 seasons. After some players cut class before the Leonia JV game, he kept those “cutters” out of the game for the 1st half. With Fair Lawn trailing 12-0, he put the miscreants in for the 2nd half and they won the game 13-12. “The CUTTERS of Fair Lawn High” were born! Marty and those original CUTTERS were inducted into the FLHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
1945-60 Frank Bennett 71-55-6 (.564). Frank’s CUTTERS won Bergen-Passaic Interscholastic League (B-PIL) titles outright in 1945, 53 and 55 and shared the ’46 title with the BUCCANEERS of Bogota and the ’47 title with the GOLDEN BEARS of Lyndhurst. He was NY Daily News “Coach of the Year in ’47. His ’53 CUTTERS shared the North Jersey, Section 1, Group III title with the COMETS of Hackensack. Bennett was one of the original inductees into the FLHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
1961-64 Ed Sheehy 19-15-1 (.559). Ed’s short career was ended when he died from Cancer at a young age. In his final season, 1964, his CUTTERS went 6-2-1 (.750) and notched the 1st 7 games of the fabulous 24 game non-losing streak 1964-66.
1965-71 Frank Devens 39-23-1 (.629). Frank’s CUTTERS notched the final 16 games of “The Streak” that ended on Thanksgiving Day 1966 before 13,000 fans at what is now SASSO FIELD as the MAROONS of Ridgewood upset our CUTTERS 40-34. His 1965 team went 8-0-1 (1.000) and remains the only Fair Lawn team to date that batted 1.000! His ’65 and ’66 CUTTERS were Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) champs. Frank was one of the original inductees into the FLHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
1972-74 Al Reinoso 7-18-2 (.280). Al played for the GRAY BEES of St. Benedict’s Prep of Newark who went 2-1-1 (.667) against Fair Lawn during 1954-57. He came to Fair Lawn from Abraham Clark High in Roselle in Union County where he coached the RAMS who’s Red and Gray colors match the Crimson and Gray of our CUTTERS.
1975-77 Rich Szura 6-21 (.222). Although Rich had a disappointing tenure as Head Football coach, this long time popular teacher was a successful head coach in Baseball, Girls Basketball and Boys and Girls Volleyball.
1978-87 Pete Natale 58-36-1 (.617). Pete came to Fair Lawn from Ridgefield Park where he had led the SCARLETS to numerous Bergen County Scholastic League (BCSL) American Division and State titles. He remains the only coach to take the CUTTERS to 9 wins and he did it 3 times, in 1980, 85 and 87. His 1980 CUTTERS were tri-NNJIL champs with the FIGHTING MUSTANGS of Clifton High and the HORNETS of Passaic Valley. His 1984, 85 and 87 CUTTERS were Northern Bergen Interscholastic League (NBIL) Division 1 champs and his CUTTERS made the playoffs in 1979, 1980, 1985 and 1987 going 1-4 (.200). The win was a thrilling come-from-behind 27-18 opening round 1980 victory over the INDIANS of Passaic at GIANTS STADIUM in 1980. That was the most exciting football game played to date in FLHS GRIDIRON history! Pete was inducted into the New Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988 and the FLHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
1988-2001 Mike Alberque 71-61-1 (.538). Mike’s CUTTERS took the Northern Bergen Interscholastic League (NBIL) Division 1 title in ’89. His CUTTERS made the playoffs in ’88, ’89 and ’00 going 1-3 (.250). The win was 14-7 over the BRUINS of North Bergen in ’89.
2002-06 Greg Tanzer 14-36 (.280) Although Coach Tanzer, the 1st FLHS grad to take the helm, did not lead the CUTTERS to a league title or the playoffs, his CUTTERS went 4-1 (.800) in State Consolation games.
2007-10 Stan Myles 20-21 (.488). Stan took the CUTTERS to the playoffs in ’09 going 1-1 (.500). His CUTTERS led the INDIANS of Passaic 32-6 at halftime in the ’09 playoffs 1st round and hung on to win a 39-38 thriller that replaced that 1980 GIANTS STADIUM game against Passaic as the most exciting in FLHS GRIDIRON history! Stan’s CUTTERS were 1-2 (.333) in State Consolation games. The win was 38-3 over the WILDCATS of High Point in 2007. Stan resigned after the 2010 season to spend more time with his young family.
2011 Amir Saadah, a 2000 Fair Lawn High graduate who played for Mike Alberque’s CUTTERS, 1997-99 has been hired as the 11th Head Football Coach in FLHS history. He comes to Fair Lawn from Hawthorne where he was an assistant coach on the BEARS team that reached the North Jersey, Section 1, Group I playoffs and lost 35-7 to the HERD of Mountain Lakes. The then LAKERS were the first varsity opponents of the brand new CUTTERS of Fair Lawn High in 1943 and our CUTTERS shut them out 13-0!
Total Fair Lawn High School Football Record 1943-2010: 314-290-14 (.520)