He’s had the job now for about two months, and Jermain Johnson is very pleased with the way things are going now that he’s the head football coach at Belleville High.
Johnson recently named his coaching staff, which includes some familiar names.
“I’m really happy with the coaching staff,” said Johnson, a Bloomfield native who was the defensive coordinator the past five seasons at Wayne Hills. “I did all the interviews and am very confident with my choices. They’re great guys, hard working, and most of all, are all-in when it comes to Belleville, these kids and what I want to accomplish.”
Eric Magrini, who most recently worked with Johnson at Wayne Hills will be the offensive coordinator. Magrini was a standout player at Wayne Hills and later played at Montclair State. Two years ago, he was inducted into the Montclair State Hall of Fame. Magrini and Johnson both played at Montclair State.
“Eric and I obviously go back a while,” said Johnson. “He was a dynamic player in high school, and college, knows the offensive side of the ball really well and will do a great job.”
Joe DiGiacomo, who worked with Johnson when the latter was head coach at Paterson Eastside, will coach middle linebackers and the offensive line this season.
“Joe recently coached the offensive line at Paterson Kennedy,” said Johnson ,”He’s another guy I have a lot of trust in. We’ve worked together in the past and he’s excited about coming here.”
Belleville High head wrestling coach Joe Pizzi is also on the staff. Pizzi, who was an assistant coach on the previous football staff for the Bucs, will lead the special teams.
“Joe is a great young coach, already, in wrestling and he knows these kids well,” said Johnson. “He teaches in the school system and when I met with him, it was an easy decision to bring him on board.”
The staff also features familiar names in Chris Balz, Dan Giangrande and Nick Giangrande.
“Dan and Nick both played at Belleville,” said Johnson. “They’re tremendous young men, and hard working. Our kids will relate to both well. Chris is a good young coach, who can do a lot for this team.”
Belleville opens the regular season in early September, but there’s plenty of work to do before that.
“We can begin working with the kids on June 11,” said Johnson. “There’s a busy summer coming up, with 7-on-7’s in July, then before you know it, we put the pads on, in August. In the meantime, the kids are working hard in the weight room. We had over 30 kids in the other day. I had my first parents meeting and I couldn’t be happier with the support I received from them.
“Our Booster Club is excited about the team, as well. I’ve gotten nothing but tremendous encouragement from everyone in town. There’s a lot to do, but I’ll tell you this much, with the coaching staff in place, and with a good work ethic, we have a chance to do some good things this coming season.”