Marck resigns as North Arlington grid coach

It was in the middle of September when Anthony Marck started to realize that his tenure as the head football coach at his alma mater North Arlington was coming to an end.

“It was actually Week 3 or Week 4 of the season when I started to say to myself, ‘I can’t keep missing these events,’” Marck said.

Marck’s eldest son was a sophomore at Emerson Borough High School, an aspiring two-way standout at tight end and linebacker.

“Zack had a few Friday night games that I had to miss,” Marck said. “And those events would pop into my head while I was trying to coach. It weighed on my mind throughout the day. I realized that if I didn’t do it now, step down, I would regret it for the rest of my life. Those were times that I could never get back.”

So after 11 years of serving as the dutiful head coach, Marck officially tendered his letter of resignation last week, ending Marck’s tenure in the position he always dreamed of having.

The decision to resign had nothing to do with the Vikings’ 1-9 record last fall.

“It really came down to my three children,” said Marck, citing his commitment to son Zack, daughter Cali, a 12-year-old seventh grader, and son Mason, who is nine.

Marck’s wife Kim, the former Kim Nelson, a member of the North Arlington Athletic Hall of Fame like her husband, her father and her brother, came to the fateful decision last week.

“Kim has done so much for our family over the years,” Marck said of his wife, who was a standout softball and basketball player for the Vikings in her heyday. “She made sure dinner was on the table when we got home. She did her share commuting the kids back and forth. After 11 years, it got a little bit tougher to be together than it was to be away.”

Marck figured that he went trick-or-treating with his children only three times over the years.

“Time waits for no one,” Marck said. “I didn’t want to be the guy to have regrets later on.”

Marck said that he met with his team Wednesday and tell them of his decision to step down.

“It was very difficult,” Marck said. “It was very bittersweet. I called for the meeting after I handed in the paperwork (for resignation). I didn’t know how to tell them. I just told them that I loved all of them. I professed all the time for the last 11 years that family comes first and that we were a family. But I had to practice what I preached and put my family first. It was very emotional.”

Marck reminded the players that he was still going to be in the building as a special education teacher.

“I’ll be a Viking until I die,” Marck said. “I was born and raised here. I played sports here all my life. I’ll still be here to break down film if they wanted. I hope they feel comfortable enough with me and that what I said made them feel comfortable.  I assured them everything was going to be OK.”

Marck said that he has received nothing but positive support since word got out about his departure.

“The outpouring from former players has been tremendous,” Marck said. “I’ve been receiving text messages from players, telling me how much of a major impact I had on their lives. That meant the world to me.”

Marck said that he will always cherish the 2015 season, when the Vikings qualified for the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs for the first time in two decades.

“It was something we hoped to do,” Marck said. “We beat Becton in order to get there. In 2010, we went 7-3 and didn’t qualify for the states. We had 16 or 17 seniors on that team, so it was tough for them, but we had a great team. Coaching against my son (in 2015) was a real special moment.”

The Vikings also had to handle their fair share of adversity during Marck’s tenure.

From 2011 through 2014, the Vikings did not have a home field after Rip Collins Field on Passaic Avenue was destroyed by two storms, the latter being Superstorm Sandy.

“We played four games without even a locker room,” Marck said. “A lot of the credit goes to Dave (Hutchinson, the school’s athletic director) and my coaching staff. They all battled through that adversity and I’m proud of them. They took it one day at a time with an unforeseen future.”

Marck, who was on the winning end of 39 games during his tenure, doesn’t know what the future holds.

“I’m still young enough,” Marck said. “I still have the energy to coach. Will I do it again? I might. But I don’t know about the time. It’s going to be difficult. I know that I’m going to visit my wife’s family in Ohio. Football is the only thing I know and the only thing I’ve done my whole adult life. I don’t know anything else but football.

Added Marck, “I’m Anthony Marck the dad, the son, the husband. That’s what I have to do first now.”

Marck is hopeful that long-time assistant Paul Savage gets elevated to the role of head coach. This way, Marck knows his hard work and dedication will not go for naught.

Whoever gets the job, it won’t be the same energetic, alive, vibrant person that Anthony Marck was. He gained respect from his fellow coaches throughout northern New Jersey and especially the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference that he was influential in forming. It’s a loss to the entire coaching profession, because there weren’t many who were more professional in his approach than Anthony Marck. He departs with nothing but the utmost respect from this reporter.

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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.”