The New York Giants have selected Mr. Christopher Benacquista of West Essex High School (North Caldwell, NJ) as "The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week" presented by BP for the week of September 19, 2011. Coach Benacquista and the West Essex Knights kicked off the football season with a 27-7 win against long time rival, the Caldwell Chiefs.
In recognition of Coach Benacquista's success and commitment, he will receive a certificate of recognition signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin and a $1,000 check will be granted to the Knights football program. Coach Benacquista will be acknowledged by a stadium announcement when the Giants host the Seattle Seahawks on October 9th and an announcement will also be posted on the Giants web site, www.giants.com.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award presented by BP, is part of the Giants' continuing effort to promote youth football. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School (NJ) coach, Lou Rettino, for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes' lives.
The Coach of the Week program is supported by BP, a proud sponsor of the Giants. This year, BP is expanding its New York area football sponsorship beyond the stadium to support local youth football leagues, coaches and parents. In addition, BP is also making equipment donations to leagues in need and providing opportunities for youths to participate in unique Giants-related experiences including hospitality suite access at MetLife Stadium and practices at a Giants facility.
Each week during the 2011 high school football season, the Giants will select one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The selection is based on the coach's continuing commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and his overall community involvement. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the Giants will choose a Coach of the Year. That coach will receive $2,000 for their school's football program. They will also be invited to attend a dinner hosted by the Giants and BP.
Coach Benacquista began his coaching career at West Essex High School in 2001 as an Assistant Coach while simultaneously landing roles as the Head JV Coach, Offensive/Defensive Line Coach and the Special Teams Coordinator in 2003. In 2010, he moved up to the Offensive Coordinator position, which he still currently holds and was named Head Coach of the Varsity Football Team in 2011. Coach Benacquista was also an Assistant Coach in the NJ/NY Governor's Bowl All-Star Game at Rutgers University in 2008. In his 10 years involved with the West Essex Football Program, the Knights have been the N.J.S.I.A.A. North II Group II State Champions 5 times (2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 & 2007) and the N.J.S.I.A.A. North II Group II State Finalists twice (2002 & 2008). In addition, the Knights have been the Iron Hill Conference Hill Division Champions twice (2001 & 2008) and the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division Champions in 2009. The Knights were also the State Leaders in Team Rushing Yards in 2004, 2007 & 2008 and were the State Leaders in Total Team Offense in 2004.
Coach Benacquista is a graduate of West Essex High School where he played on the Varsity Football team from 1990-1992 and was the team Captain his senior year. During his time, he was named 2nd Team All-Iron Hills Conference/Hills Division in 1991, 1st Team All-Iron Hills Conference/Hills Division Offensive Lineman in 1992, 1st Team All-Essex County Star Ledger Offensive Lineman in 1992, 1st Team All-Essex County Coaches' Association in 1992 and 2nd Team All-State Group 3 in 1992. In addition, he was named the Essex County Scholar Athlete for Football & Baseball in 1992 and was a member of The College of New Jersey Football Team from 1993-1996.