East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Barris Grant of Hillside High School (Hillside, NJ) as the 2019 Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Year. Grant's Comets finished their season with a perfect 12-0 record this year and won their third consecutive sectional title by coming from behind to defeat top-seeded West Deptford 14-10, in the NJSIAA/Rothman Orthopaedics South Jersey, Group 2 championship game. They went on to defeat Cedar Creek 25-3 in the NJSIAA Group II Regional Championship at Rutgers University's SHI Stadium. Hillside outscored its 12 foes by an impressive 435-43 margin, allowing 3.6 points per game and surrendering only 15 points in its four playoff games. They have now won 27 of their last 28 games dating back to November of 2017, including nine consecutive sectional playoff wins.
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. Each Coach of the Week school received a $2,000 grant for their football program from the Giants Foundation and Gatorade.
In recognition of Coach Grant's selection as Coach of the Year, a $4,000 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 Pat Shurmur. Coach Grant's honor will be acknowledged with an in-stadium announcement when the Giants host the Miami Dolphins on December 15th. Coach Grant and the ten 2019 Coach of the Week honorees will also be invited to attend a dinner hosted by the Giants at MetLife Stadium in the Spring, and will be invited with their teams to a Giants preseason game in 2020.
Grant became head coach of the Hillside Comets in 2016, and has amassed 36 career victories over the past 4 years. In 2017, in his 2nd Season as head coach, Grant led Hillside to its' 1st sectional championship in 30 years, following up the next 2 seasons with the Central and South Jersey Sectional Championships. Grant has also led his team to 2 back-to-back Mid-State 38 Valley Division championships. Under his leadership this past season, the Hillside Comets finished the season ranked #7 in the state of NJ, while also boasting the states #1 defense.
In addition to this honor, Hillside High School also saw Shadon Willis win USA Football's 2018 Heart of a Giant Award presented by Hospital for Special Surgery for his demonstration of character, determination and leadership despite the difficulties he experienced throughout his childhood. Members of the Hillside Comets football team have also volunteered side-by-side with players from the New York Giants on behalf of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey at the Hillside Senior Center the past two years in advance of Thanksgiving to distribute meals to the attendees.
Grant finished his All-American HS football career at Irvington High School in NJ as a 2-time stand-out All-State linebacker, graduating in 1997. After a stint at Dodge City Jr. College where he was an All-American linebacker, he went on to play at Mississippi State University, where he was a standout linebacker that helped the 1999 team finish with the top-ranked defense in the nation and a win in the Peach Bowl. Grant was also nominated to the Irvington High School Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019, along with his brother Darnell.
Prior to his time at Hillside, Grant served one year as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State University, two years at Irvington High School, three years as linebackers coach at Benedict College, one year as defensive coordinator at Mercyhurst College, one year as linebacker coach at New Mexico State, four years as offensive coordinator at Shabazz High School, as well as Arena Football positions and an internship with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition to coaching, Grant has spent the past 12 years as a physical education teacher, health teacher and disciplinarian in Newark and Hillside Public School Districts. He and his wife, Tiffany have three kids – Brenae, Barris Jr. and Brooklyn. Grant is also adored by his loving mother Margaret Grant, father McArthur Grant, older brother Darnell Grant, and a host of family and relatives.
2019 Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Honorees Presented by Gatorade
Week 1 - Artie Viggiano, Pelham Memorial High School, Pelham, NY
Week 2 – Rich Seubert, Watchung Hills High School, Warren, NJ
Week 3 - Kevin Callahan, Ridgefield High School, Ridgefield, CT
Week 4 – Rich Tuero, Lyndhurst High School, Lyndhurst, NJ
Week 5 – Jermain Johnson, Belleville High School, Belleville, NJ
Week 6 – Tim Strenfel, Middletown High School, Middletown, NY
Week 7 – Marion Bell, West Side High School, Newark, NJ
Week 8 – Bobby Fehrenbach, MacArthur High School, Levittown, NY
Week 9 – Todd Cayea, Carmel High School, Carmel, NY
Week 10 – Daniel Agovino, North Shore High School, Glen Head, NY
2019 Coach of the Year: Barris Grant, Hillside High School, Hillside, NJ