35 Years As a High School Basketball Coach — And Counting

35 Years As a High School Basketball Coach -- And Counting

As Tom Feraco gets ready for his 35th season as the basketball coach at Middle Township High School, he's looking forward to the challenge of working with new as well as "seasoned" players."  And he's proud of his school's record of 700 wins and just 236 losses in 34 seasons (encompassing both league and post-season play) in which his teams won at least 20 of the 24 games played every year .

If you press him, he might mention that Middle Township High won three New Jersey state championships, 13 Cape Atlantic League titles and nine in South Jersey. "Most of the seniors go on to college," he adds, "and don't forget to mention my assistant coaches — Rewi Thompson, Rich Troum, Andy Ludman, Randy Clark and Rich Prendergast."

One of nine children of Frank and Constance Feraco, Tom grew up in Wildwood, NJ, just a few miles from Middle Township High School in Cape May Court House. He attended Wildwood Catholic High and went on to Franklin & Marshall, where he played basketball and graduated in 1980. What does he remember about college?  "We went to the finals (basketball) in 1979," he recalls. 

What has changed over the years?  "Well, for one thing, it's not unusual for a kid to own five pairs of sneakers today," he says. "And that certainly wasn't the case when I began coaching or when I was growing up. Kids are more structured now. They grew up with technology that didn't exist when I was a kid. But when I think about it, I guess kids are generally the same."

Looking back, he admits that he "used to be tough" when he started coaching, but now he tries to make the game "fun for my players, who play hard for us." And the record proves it.

Tom, his wife Janine and the Feraco Family have been embraced by this South Jersey community over the years and they have given back in a variety of ways — in support of veterans' causes, the hospital and young people throughout the region. It's the kind of thing you see in small towns all over this country. It makes you proud to be an American — and to know people like Tommy Feraco.

Beau Weisman, Editor