East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Darnell Grant of West Orange High School (West Orange, NJ) as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 9 of the 2020 season. Coach Darnell Grant is in his 2nd season as Head Coach of the West Orange Mountaineers, who ended their season with a six game winning streak, after losing their opener to St. Peter's Prep, the top ranked team in the state. The Mountaineers won the Liberty White Division of the Super Essex Conference.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award is part of the Giants' continuing effort to support local youth football programs. 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. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants selected 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.
In recognition of Coach Grant's selection as Coach of the Week, a $2,000 check will be granted to the school's football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. He will also receive a certificate of recognition signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants head coach Joe Judge.
Darnell Grant was unanimously named as the West Orange High School head coach in 2019 by the West Orange Board of Education. Prior to his time with the Mountaineers, Grant served as the head coach of Shabazz High School for nine years. During his time at Shabazz, he won two state championships and appeared in the state finals three times in a five-year span. Grant was also named New Jersey Coach of the Year in 2014, inducted into the Essex County Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2015, named NAACP 2017 Sportsman of the Year and as one of New Jersey's 50 Winningest Active Head Coaches in 2018. With West Orange athletics going through a complete overhaul over the past five years, Grant was tasked with putting the Mountaineers on the map. "Coach Grant is a young man of great integrity and a real family man," said Ron Bligh, Director of Athletics for West Orange School District. "In Two short seasons he has changed the entire culture of our Football program making our student-athletes believe in themselves and as a team what they can achieve."
Grant is known for his wealth of knowledge for the game of football and his ability to develop his young players through mentorship and accountability. Academics come first in Grant's program and he expects daily academic reports from his players and at least a 3.0 GPA. Grant creates opportunities for his players to prepare for their future by going on college tours and holding them to high standards. During his time with West Orange, Grant has used his experience and leadership to create a winning atmosphere, not only for the players, but for the whole school and community.