The Giants Foundation and Gatorade to contribute $2,000 to the football program.
East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Damon Harrison of Newark East Side High School (Newark, NJ) as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 6 of the 2023 season. The Red Raiders are 4-0 to start the 2023 season thanks to an 18-12 overtime road win against the previously unbeaten Dwight Morrow Maroon Raiders last Saturday.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award is part of the Giants' continuing effort to support local high school 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 contributing overall to their community.
In recognition of Coach Harrison'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 Giants head coach Brian Daboll, and will be honored at a dinner following the season, as well as a 2024 pre-season home game.
When Harrison took over as head coach of East Side prior to the 2021 season, his primary focus was increasing participation from his school community for a football team that had a record of 5-82 over the prior 10 seasons. His first season in 2021 saw familiar results with an 0-10 campaign, but a foundation was being built. The Red Raiders won their 2022 season opener 40-0, and went 5-5 on the year with three shutout victories. The 2023 season has demonstrated the continued growth of the program. East Side scored 69 points on the road in their season opener against Ferris High School, and the scored 59 points the next week against Bergen Tech. The defense has been equally impressive, allowing just 11.25 points per game over the four games. East Side has three games left in the regular season, with the goal of winning the Super Football Conference's Ivy White division and experiencing the playoffs for the first time in school history.
A native of Newark, Harrison graduated from Newark Tech High School while playing for the Malcolm X. Shabazz football team. He went on to graduate from Shaw University and played three seasons in the Arena Football League. Harrison also coaches the Newark Striders track and field club.