RBR WRESTLING COACH SCOTT FERRIS WINS 200TH MATCH; NAMED NJ WRESTLING COACH OF THE YEAR
By Robert Solomon
LITTLE SILVER – Longevity is usually an indication that a person is successful and happy with their job. For a high school coach, it also demonstrates the ability to work well with student-athletes. However, with the additional duties of teaching, staying on for a long period of time as a coach becomes a challenge and causes many coaches to leave early. For those who stay, the success and accolades begin to build. Red Bank Regional is lucky to have coach Scott Ferris who is an example of this point.
Ferris, who is completing his 20th year as the head wrestling coach at RBR, has had a most eventful few weeks. On Jan. 15 he earned his 200th career win (against Asbury Park). And on Jan. 10 he was named the National Federation of High School Association’s (NFHS) New Jersey Wrestling Coach of the Year.
Fresh out of college, Ferris joined the RBR staff and was also hired as the head wrestling coach. “I took over a struggling program. One of my goals was to keep a high number (of wrestlers) on the team,” said Ferris. He took this to the next level and helped build a successful program.
Wrestling has been in Ferris’s blood since a young age. His father coached the local recreation team where Ferris started wrestling at the age of five. “My father was the coach and then I had success,” said Ferris. This success encouraged him to continue to wrestle at the next level.
“I was pretty intense (as a wrestler). I was always focused and determined to do my best. I always wanted to be the best,” explained Ferris.
Ferris continued his wrestling career at West Morris Central High School in Long Valley. “I was an OK wrestler (in high school). I did go to the regional qualifier,” he recalled.
His wrestling career took off at SUNY Cortland. “I had a coach who worked one-on-one with me and found the areas I was good at and we focused and improved on them,” Ferris explained. That system and hard work paid off, as he was a three-time NCAA Division III National Qualifier.
Ferris also felt getting wins to help the team was important. “Making the tournaments was a lot of fun also,” he said.
Going into coaching was the next logical step for Ferris. “I want to help out others and see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they are a success. I also want to teach kids to do the moves that I was able to do,” he explained.
Ferris describes himself as a hardworking coach who is dedicated to his athletes. “I never want the kids to think I’m giving up on them,” he said. He also sees himself going beyond just business as usual. “I am looking to help the kids have fun. I am always looking to find new ways to improve myself as a coach.
“I think they respond real well to me. They appreciate all of the hard work we (Ferris and his coaching staff) put in for them,” Ferris said. He explained that he is always willing to stay after practice to work with any wrestler to help them become better.
In any 20-year career there are numerous highlights. Ferris has many, but was able to name a few immediately. Last year was the first time since 1996 that the Bucs made it to the state sectionals. He was selected District 22 Coach of the Year a few years ago, and coaching Lamar Brown (who placed fourth in the New Jersey State Championships) are just a few.
Ferris was also proud of coaching Brandon Scott, a blind wrestler who was a two-time district champion and placed fourth in the region twice under Ferris’s tutelage.
Even with all of these accomplishments, Ferris puts one highlight above the rest. “Being able to watch my son wrestle is my biggest highlight,” he said. His son is a senior wrestler at Wall. Ferris’s daughter is a wrestler at Wall Middle School. The wrestling tradition runs deep in the Ferris household.
Ferris didn’t think he would reach 200 wins. “I didn’t think I’d be coaching that long but I still have the desire,” he said. His 200th win snuck up on him. “I never really thought about it and didn’t even realize it was that close.”
Although he didn’t think about it much before, he is proud of this accomplishment. “It really is a special number because not too many coaches get to 200,” he said. “It shows I’ve been successful in the sport.”
Another milestone was being selected as NFHS NJ High School Wrestling Coach of the Year. “The NFHS is the governing body of rules for all high school sports throughout the country,” explained Ferris. “I was recommended by the NJSIAA.”
Being selected for this award is extremely important to Ferris. “It means a lot because it is a national federation,” he said. “People saw all the hard work my assistants and I put into the sport.”
Another accomplishment Ferris can add to his resume is helping to organize the first New Jersey girls wrestling regional tournament. The tournament took place last February and was hosted by RBR. There were 305 girls from 95 schools who participated in the event.
“My athletic director (Del DalPra) and I did it because I had a female athlete on my team. She was talented but couldn’t beat the boys. We wanted to make this (the tournament) happen for this girl,” explained Ferris.
He felt that with the amount of work she did, there should be a place for her to compete. This athlete made it to the finals and placed sixth in the state.
RBR does have a girls wrestling team, also coached by Ferris. This year there is only one wrestler because four wrestlers from last year graduated, and several decided not to come out for the team again. Ferris is looking to improve its numbers next year.
Ferris and his son travel the country racing go-karts and are national champions. This does not distract him from his high school wrestling coaching career. “I plan to keep coaching, keep winning matches and to help grow the sport,” he concluded.