There was a famous writer named Thomas Wolfe who once wrote a book entitled, “You Can’t Go Home Again.”
Well, that certainly doesn’t apply to Scot Weaver.
The former Queen of Peace head wrestling coach, who once spent 13 years of his life (1988 through 2001) as the head wrestling coach at Lyndhurst High School, has indeed come home again to once again serve as the head wrestling coach at Lyndhurst.
After QP closed its doors in June of 2017, Weaver was a coach without a home. Weaver not only was the head wrestling coach at QP when it closed, but was also heading the football program. He had worked diligently to build a new wrestling room at the school, but saw it all end when the powers-that-be decided to shut the school forever.
Without a home, Weaver found himself volunteering at Bergen Catholic, where his son Dylan attended and wrestled.
But as situations would have it, the head wrestling position at Lyndhurst opened when Joe Collins decided not to re-apply due to work commitments.
Weaver, who still resides in the town, decided to put his name into the ring.
“I love the sport,” said Weaver, who is currently a teacher in the East Orange school district. “I love teaching the sport and I love coaching. I wanted to coach again and I feel like I have a lot to offer. I also wanted to coach my sons (Dylan, who has transferred to Lyndhurst and is a sophomore and Damian, an eighth grader). Everything just fell into place.”
Weaver met with Lyndhurst athletic director Jeff Radigan and some parents before he decided to take the job.
“I told the parents that this was the direction we were going to go in,” Weaver said. “They bought in 100 percent. We were going to go out of state for tournaments. We were going to raise money to do it.”
That had to be a tough sell to a district that has had financial difficulty over the last few years.
But Weaver was the right man for the job, considering that he knew a lot of the kids through his sons and that he once held the position – and held it successfully, leading the Golden Bears to storied heights with great wrestlers like Dennis McSweeney and Donny Pritzlaff, the three-time state champion and two-time NCAA champion.
“I figured that with knowing all the kids in the program and having my two sons, I could help the program,” Weaver said. “It’s never been my endeavor as a coach just to come in. I like to develop kids. That brings a lot of satisfaction to me.”
Weaver even consulted Pritzlaff, currently an assistant wrestling coach at Rutgers, before taking the job.
He was also able to secure the services of four top assistant coaches in Dylan Geoghegan, Nick Lospinoso, Ted Caportino and Mike Scaravilli to aid in the cause.
Weaver also brought in recent Lyndhurst grad Matt DeMarco, currently playing football at Montclair State, to be a volunteer assistant.
“He’s going to be a teacher one day, so this was a good start for him,” Weaver said of DeMarco.
The Golden Bears have been doing remarkably well in Weaver’s return. They own a 6-3 dual meet record and finished fifth over the weekend at the prestigious Elizabeth Minuteman Tournament.
The roster is as follows:
At 106 pounds, Weaver has two kids, namely freshman Eddie Ortiz and sophomore Damian Moreira. Ortiz is a North Arlington student, as the Lyndhurst program remains a co-operative with North Arlington. Ortiz placed fifth at the Elizabeth tourney over the weekend.
Sophomore Billy Roberts is the 113-pounder. He’s a newcomer to the sport.
At 120 pounds is sophomore Grayson Jurado, who owns a 6-6 record.
Junior Joel Galindo is the 126-pounder with junior Brandon Vitacco at 132 pounds. Vitacco was another fifth place finisher at Elizabeth.
Sophomore Alex Castro is the 138-pounder who had a nice win over Columbia earlier this season, but Weaver’s son Dylan is a highly regarded wrestler who became eligible to compete after sitting out the 30 days mandated by the NJSIAA transfer rule. Dylan Weaver won the Elizabeth Tournament in his debut and was named the tourney’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
The younger Weaver won 25 matches last year for Bergen Catholic.
“The goal for him is to place in New Jersey,” Weaver said of his son. “He has a lot of experience. He’s a projected college wrestler.”
Anthony DeMarco, the younger brother of Matt and the last of the long line of Lyndhurst DeMarcos, is the 145-pounder. DeMarco, a sophomore, was the Bergen County freshman champion a year ago.
Senior Derin Stitzer is the 152-pounder. Stitzer won 28 matches last year and also claimed a championship at the Elizabeth tourney over the weekend.
“He’s a tough, aggressive kid,” said Weaver of Stitzer, who placed fifth at the Bergen County Coaches Association’s championships over the Christmas holidays.
Senior Victor Jorge is the team’s 160-pounder. Jorge won 36 matches last year and placed third at Elizabeth over the weekend. He was also a District runner-up last year.
“He’s a quality young man,” Weaver said. “He’s very mature. We’re expecting big things from Victor and we’re trying to get him to Atlantic City (and the state championships).”
Aidan Stitzer is the 170-pound freshman and younger brother of Derin.
“He’s a tough kid who just needs a little polish,” Weaver said. “He has been taking baby steps forward.”
Sophomore Josh Pizarro is another kid in the mix in the 160/170-pound range.
“He’s a physical specimen,” Weaver said of Pizarro.
Senior Christopher LaPaz is the 195-pounder.
“He was a beginner last year, but he’s come a long way,” Weaver said.
Junior Justin Diller is the team’s 220-pounder. He’s a newcomer to wrestling.
Sophomore Sina Hyaghi is another newcomer and the team’s heavyweight.
Weaver is hopeful to get the Golden Bears to the NJSIAA state sectionals. If he’s able to do that, then he really can walk on water – and not the frozen kind either.
“Lyndhurst kids are tough,” said Weaver, who also has another North Arlington kid on the roster in 126-pound freshman Lucas DeOlivera. “We have a bunch of special, physical kids.”
And Weaver is getting the chance to coach his two sons.
“It’s a special thing,” Weaver said. “I’ll be able to share some memories with my sons. We’re all having a blast right now. I’m having a great time with the kids.”
As for that author Wolfe, all he needs to do is meet Scot Weaver to debunk that old theory. Weaver is home again – and living the life.
The Lyndhurst/North Arlington wrestling co-operative welcomed back veteran coach Scot Weaver (second from left) this season. From left are Christopher LaPaz, Weaver, Victor Jorge and Derin Stitzer. Photo by Jim Hague
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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.”