NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—With the recent struggles to find a new athletic director for Rutgers University, perhaps the university should have been looking to New Brunswick High School’s very own Rob Thomas, as four NBHS coaches were recognized as “coach of the year” in their respective sports.

“New Brunswick has a dedicated coaching staff that recognizes the importance of excelling both on and off the field,” says Jorge E. Diaz, New Brunswick High School principal.

“Our coaches want nothing more than to see our student-athletes succeed. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments and applaud the GMC for recognizing their success.”

Many new coaches working under athletic director Rob Thomas are only in their first few seasons and have already turned their respective programs around.


The football Zebras finished 9-2, advancing to the Central Group V Semifinals.

Head coach Don Sofilkanich was named the GMC coach of the year in only his second year with the team.

The team returned to the playoffs since 2009, and the Semifinals since 2006.

From 2010 to 2013, the team went 2-36-3, averaging less than two touchdowns per game.

Maurice Ffrench, Samad Davila, Jah’Bree Seawright-Jeffery, German Pimentel, Mohammed Bangura, Kadas Reams and Josimar Contreras were named to the All White Division team.

Ffrench, Davila and Pimentel also received All Conference honors.

Pittsburgh commit, Maurice Ffrench, compiled 1,375 rushing yards, 727 receiving yards and 24 total touchdowns, while Samad Davia finished with 1,333 rushing yards and 15 scores.

The soccer Zebras finished 20-2, advanced to the Central Group IV Semifinals, won the GMC white division title, and finished as the 14th best team in New Jersey.

Head coach Rafael Castillo was named the white division coach of the year in only his second year with the team.

Truly a valuable coach, Castillo has worked for the district for seven years as a Play It Smart coach, providing personal and academic support for athletes.

Along with assistant coach Jimmy Piñeda, both communicate in Spanish and English as the team contains many Hispanic players who are new to the country.

Without these coaches who knows how effective Honduran natives Kevin Sanchez, who finished as New Jersey’s leading goal scorer with 53 goals, and Arlin Martinez, who orchestrated the team’s offense, would have been.

Kevin Sanchez, Raul Galindo, Jason Zarate and Arlin Martinez were named to the All division team.

Sanchez, Galindo and Zarate also received All Conference honors. Kevin Sanchez was named to the All State first team, and Raul Galindo was named to the All State third team.

After blowing out each their opponents in the white division , the Zebras will move up to the red division to compete against powerhouse teams such as South and East Brunswick, and Monroe.

The lady Zebras finished 13-4, advanced to the first round of the Central Group IV Playoffs, and won the GMC gold division title.

Head coach Michael Shymanski was named the gold division coach of the year. Shymanski is a health and physical education instructor in New Brunswick High School and has been with the district for three years.

Rosa Veliz, Lynne Dominguez, Areil Santiago, Abigail Luengas, Erica Rodriguez and Odalis Montes were named to the all gold division team.

Captain Odalis Montes commented, “We’ve come a long way. When I was a freshman, girls didn’t even show up to practice and didn’t care to play.”

“Focusing on getting girls to play was our focus and teaching them the basics, which is why we were sent down to the gold division. Now, we have gone from that to focusing on teaching them formations,” said coach Shymanski.

With their newfound success, the lady Zebras will move back up to the white division next season.

The lady Zebras finished 15-7 with the second best overall record in Central Group IV play. Head Coach Michael Mitchell was named the blue division coach of the year. Mitchell is a McKinley Community School Special Education Paraprofessional and has been with the district for 17 years.

Leslie Valdez was named to the all blue division team, a standout player on a team which finished 1-14-1.

Received the blue division sportsmanship award and finished 2-1-1. Junior, Dilcia Hernandez, was named to the all blue division team.

Finished 0-3 in Central Jersey Group IV competition. Senior Sergio Hernandez was named to the all blue division team.