Fort Lee High School sports have always been a great source of pride to the community. Sometimes our teams are great and sometimes our teams do not fare so well in a given year. But one major source of pride in Fort Lee is the dedication and hard work of the many coaches who often sacrifice their personal lives to give our young athletes the best possibility of success in high school sports and for the extraordinarily talented, a career in college sports.
For the past few months, Michael Raftery, Athletic Director, has been conducting an extensive search to locate a new coach for the Fort Lee High School Football team. It appears that Mr. Raftery may have struck gold. Rob Bertolini, the defensive coordinator from Bogota High School, has agreed to accept the position.
Rob has some Fort Lee blood in his veins. Both of his parents, Robert and Pamela, were graduates of Fort Lee High School. He attended Bergen Catholic High School whereupon in Rob’s junior and senior year, 1998 and 1999, BC won two consecutive State Championships. Rob was the starting fullback, rushed for over 1000 yards, and was elected team captain in his Senior year. The Bergen Record anointed the 1998 team “Team of the Century”.
Attending the College of New Jersey, Rob earned his teaching degree. During his tenure there, Rob fought off a series of injuries while playing fullback for the college team. Graduating in 2004, Rob started his professional career teaching at Lincoln Elementary School in Newark and then moved on to the Clifton school system as a health and physical education teacher.
In the next few years, Rob was fortunate enough to find his soulmate in Jillian Pizzi and they were married in 2009. They currently reside in Little Ferry, New Jersey.
Rob’s professional coaching career began in 2005 at Clifton High School, where over the years, Rob went from Freshman coach to Defensive Coordinator and Head Offensive Line Coach. In 2006, Clifton High won the Group IV State Championship. In 2013, Rob moved on to become the Defensive Coordinator for Bogota High School.
The Fort Lee High School program will be receiving an injection of new energy with Rob’s arrival. He brings stellar credentials to the program and will be extremely fortunate to be inheriting a well disciplined group of young athletes as a result the hard work of retiring Coach Billy Straub.
Rob has stated his Three Major Goals for the Fort Lee High School Football program as follows:
- “The number one goal is for our players to become better on and off the field. We want a program built on respect and one that is admired by neighboring districts.”
- “A disciplined football team. We want our team to be able to fight through adversity throughout a game. This will carry over to hardships off the field throughout their lives.”
- “To never give up during a game. Our players need to learn that when things don’t go their way, they still have to “stay on course and right the ship.”
The entire Fort Lee Community would like to welcome Rob Bertolini as our new Head Football Coach and wish him the best of luck for the 2014-2015 Season.