High Profile Football Job Opens at...

High Profile Football Job Opens at... High Profile Football Job Opens at Washington Township

One of the more high profile jobs opened in South Jersey when Mark Wechter resigned last week as the head football coach at Washington Township.

A 1990 graduate of Washington Township, Wechter was the head coach the past 11 years, compiling a 65-47 record. In his 11 years the Minutemen qualified for the state tournament eight times and won conference titles in 2006, 2007 and 2015.

Wechter replaced the late Tom Brown, one of the legendary coaches in South Jersey history. Brown compiled a 216-70-5 record at Paulsboro and Washington Township. At Paulsboro Brown went 57-12-1. In his seven seasons Paulsboro went 4-0 in South Jersey Group 1 championship games.

At Washington Township Brown was 159-55-4. He guided Washington Township to eight South Jersey Group 4 championship games, winning three. Since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1974, no other coach has won a sectional championship at Washington Township.

In the 11 years before Brown's arrival, Washington Township qualified for the playoffs just once.

So Brown set lofty standards.

Under Wechter the Minutemen were highly competitive, while playing annually one of the toughest schedules in South Jersey. The Minutemen have competed first, in the Olympic Conference American Division and currently the West Jersey Football League American Division.

This year Washington Township went 4-6 and the Minutemen would have qualified for the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs had they defeated Kingsway at the playoff cutoff date. Instead, it was Kingsway coming away with a 28-21 overtime win.

Township also lost three-point decisions to two playoff teams, Shawnee and Rancocas Valley.

Being competitive against a top-flight schedule is how it went for much of Wechter's tenure. Other than a 2-8 season in 2014, Washington Township was highly competitive the other years under Wechter.

Over the years Washington Township has benefited from having a strong midget program and that won't change, although for a school this size, it has never been an assembly line of Division I football talent.

Either way, Wechter's successor will take over a program where the expectations won't drop one bit. Township is expected to contend for playoff spots and conference titles, in a division where everybody else has the same expectations.

That means there are no easy games, in a division that this year included champion Shawnee, Cherokee, Hammonton, Kingsway and Williamstown, along with Washington Township.

If the truth be told, teams like Kingsway, a newcomer to the American, and Williamstown, were rebuilding, while Hammonton (5-5) suffered a key early season-ending injury to quarterback Malachi Winters.

So the teams that had down years are expected to rebound, although not all the American Division teams can be big winners.

That said, with the difficult division, coaching Washington Township is a desired job and there should be plenty of interested applicants sending resumes to athletic director Kevin Murphy.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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