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Williamstown's Fucetola is top S.J. coach

As a football coach, Williamstown's Frank Fucetola has always been a grinder, somebody who didn't get immediate results but persisted until he lapped the field.

As a football coach, Williamstown's Frank Fucetola has always been a grinder, somebody who didn't get immediate results but persisted until he lapped the field.

His first season as coach of St. Augustine in 1993, his team went 4-6. By the final one, in 1995, the Hermits were 9-2 and won the state Non-Public Group 1 title.

Similarly when he was hired at Williamstown in 1996, there were some ups and downs, with just three of his first eight teams finishing at .500 or better.

Fucetola, though, has shown he can build a program, and just as in his first head-coaching job, he eventually succeeded in his second - in a big way.

This season, the Braves went 12-0, earning the South Jersey Group 5 and West Jersey Football League American Division titles.

It was the school's first sectional title since the NJSIAA playoffs started in 1974. In addition, the Braves for the first time ended as The Inquirer's No. 1-ranked South Jersey team.

This year simply affirmed the strong program he has built. It was the ninth straight season Williamstown had won at least seven games.

For Fucetola, The Inquirer's South Jersey football coach of the year, it never has been about where his team started but, rather, where it finished.

"I am not coaching any different than when I had teams go 3-7," said Fucetola, whose career coaching record at both schools is 127-75. "It's all about the players you have."

While there is no denying the talent at Williamstown, Fucetola's huge imprint on the success can't be discounted.

Few in South Jersey are better at coaching the running game. Teams knew what the Braves would do in the Delaware wing-T, but stopping it was a different matter.

This was a well-drilled team, one that operated on precision.

"When you run the football, you are constantly putting pressure on teams," Fucetola said.

Williamstown certainly did that, scoring 51 rushing touchdowns this season.

Going back to his early days at Williamstown, Fucetola was ahead of his time, running June minicamps for his players. He has long believed that the season is 365 days long - or at least that is how long he spends working on it.

His players clearly have given back to the program when they see their coach never letting up.

"He is a great coach who loves the game," said junior running back-defensive back Marques Little, who rushed for 1,075 yards and 16 touchdowns this year. "You always want to give 110 percent to him because he does that for us."

Fucetola has given the message that no task is too tall for his players.

"He will help you on and off the field, and that is what you love about him," Little said.

In addition, Fucetola has his hands in all aspects of the game, but he also hires talented assistants and allows them to coach.

"I have been fortunate to have some great coaches here," he said.

Fucetola, 61, will retire in February as a teacher, and he said he hasn't decided his coaching future.

For now, he is enjoying the championship and also working on helping his players with recruiting, another of his passions.

It's all part of running a successful program.

In football, especially, it often takes time to join the elite. Nobody knows that more than Fucetola, whose patience, talent, and dedication have placed his Williamstown team at the top of South Jersey football.