WEST MILFORD, N.J. – Veteran West Milford basketball coach John Finke will be back for a 29th season after all.
Finke – who in May came up a vote shy of having his contract renewed – was reinstated as West Milford High School’s head boys’ basketball coach late Tuesday night.
About 20 people – including many former players – spoke out in favor of Finke at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
The Board put the matter to another vote, and two members that were not present for the May meeting voted in favor of renewing Finke’s contract -- making the coaching job that Finke held for 28 years officially his again.
“I’m relieved, but I feel a little behind. Sometimes by now we’ve played ten, twelve games in the summer,” Finke told Daily Voice.
“But we are ready to go,” he said. The team starts summer league Thursday, he said.
Finke said he was amazed by the former players who spoke out on his behalf at the meeting.
“As a coach, sometimes you don’t make your impact until the players have become adults or they are in college. And you don’t always hear the good things that they say or feel about you,” he said. “A lot of times during the season, and when they are in high school, its push, push, push. Make them better … Just to hear all of those people get up and speak so positively about their experience with me and in the program was fantastic.”
Finke plans to coach for one or two more years and is happy that he can now play a part in eventually transitioning the program to a new head coach.
“We can have a legitimate educational plan for the players and for the program that has been built up over so much time,” he said.
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