Former Kearny grid coach Edwards now QP baseball coach

Photo by Jim Hague North Arlington resident Nick Edwards, the former head football coach at Kearny, has been appointed as the new head baseball coach at Queen of Peace.
Photo by Jim Hague
North Arlington resident Nick Edwards, the former head football coach at Kearny, has been appointed as the new head baseball coach at Queen of Peace.

Nick Edwards just couldn’t stay away from coaching that long. Just three months after he resigned as the head football coach at Kearny High School, the 39-year-old Edwards has signed on to become the new head baseball coach at Queen of Peace.

The North Arlington resident grew up literally right across the street from Riverside County Park, where the Golden Griffins played their home baseball games, so it was easy for Edwards to watch his older brother, Gary, play for QP.

“I remember those days watching my brother play with Bobby Sprague for Coach Abro (Ed Abromaitis),” Edwards said. “I grew up watching those teams. I got a little taste of the QP baseball history.”

Gary Edwards is currently a North Arlington police officer and is a member of the Queen of Peace Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball, track and football.

“There’s a lot of history between me and Queen of Peace,” said Edwards, who replaced Steve Mancinelli as head coach. “I want to bring back the history that Queen of Peace used to have.”

Mancinelli was removed as head coach in suspicious fashion, learning about his demise from others and receiving official word via e-mail from school officials.

But the Golden Griffins were 3-17 this season, so the school decided a change was necessary. It didn’t take long for the school to turn the keys over to Edwards, who had just resigned as the Kearny grid coach after just two seasons.

“I guess it is all part of a change at the school,” Edwards said. “I noticed that Queen of Peace has brought in a new football coach (Jim Kelly) and a new girls’ basketball coach (Jiovanny Fontan). This is just another chapter in my life. I think I can lead the program in a new direction.”

Edwards was asked why he would want to take on the challenge of coaching a losing program like QP after leaving a struggling grid program at Kearny.

“I just think that I missed baseball,” Edwards said. “I missed the game.”

Edwards was a standout baseball player growing up. He played for the prestigious Jersey City Stars of Tomorrow program, headed by the late Ed Ford, better known for his unique nickname of “The Faa.”

“I loved the North Arlington Recreation program and the relationships I had with the people there, but when I think of my baseball life, Mr. Ford always comes to mind,” Edwards said of Ford, who passed away four years ago.

“I played with some really special people and they’re very special to me. I treasure those guys.”

In fact, when Edwards was 15, he played for a Jersey City Stars of Tomorrow 15-andunder team that won the state Mickey Mantle championship. That team featured four young men who became head baseball coaches, namely Ron Hayward (formerly of Marist, now of St. Anthony), Alberto Suarez (Hudson Catholic), Jack Baker (Hoboken) and Kearny resident Danny Suarez (Dickinson).

Now, there are five high school head baseball coaches from one youth team. That’s pretty impressive.

“That was a very important time of my life,” Edwards said.

Edwards then became an All-State baseball player for St. Peter’s Prep, then went on to play baseball and football at St. Peter’s College before getting involved in coaching soon after graduation.

Edwards is still a member of the faculty at Kearny High, but he wanted to take advantage of the chance to coach baseball once again.

“I have the opportunity to coach baseball at a Catholic school in the town where I live,” Edwards said. “You get kids coming in from different towns.”

Edwards believes that he can turn the program around.

“I just feel that the relationship I have with kids helps,” Edwards said. “I can sense the respect that I get from kids. I just have a good work ethic as a coach and love for the game of baseball. I think of all the coaches I had in baseball growing up.”

Edwards mentioned some of his former baseball coaches, like local residents Joe Urbanovich (retired former St. Peter’s Prep head coach) and Rich Nisbet (former Prep assistant and currently the Dickinson athletic director).

“They were all important people to me,” Edwards said. “My former baseball coaches put me in the right direction to become a coach myself.”

Edwards has already met with the returning QP players. They know what is expected of them in the offseason as Edwards gets settled in.

“If the kids come, they’ll start winning games,” Edwards said. “I don’t doubt myself one bit. We can turn things around and make the program competitive. That’s my goal right away. And my goal every year will be to mold some young men and get them into college.”

The future is the most important aspect of a QP baseball player’s life. Edwards truly believes he will help alter the future by being their head baseball coach.

“I just feel that the relationship I’ve had with kids will help me turn things around,” said Edwards, who knows the changes won’t come overnight. “I know it might take a little time.”

But does Queen of Peace have a future as a school? Obviously, the administration believes so with the addition of new coaches Kelly, Fontan and now Edwards.

However, QP will need a new boys’ basketball coach once again, as beloved alum Tom McGuire has stepped down after four years of being the head coach of the Griffins.

So the school is now in search of yet another head coach as the revolving door keeps spinning. School officials have to hope that Edwards will offer some sort of stability with the baseball program moving forward.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”