100 IS JUST A NUMBER… post thumbnail image


100 wins may not seem like a big number in the world of high school coaching. When you think of the Bob Hurley’s and George Sourlis’s of the world, it’s a tiny number when it comes to wins. Last night Joe Whalen joined James Young as coaches who got there 100th win this year. But it’s not the number that was impressive, but rather how both got to the milestones. Both walked into programs that had seen better days…or that’s what people thought, because SUCCESS is what they have brought to their respective schools.

james-young When James Young became the head coach at RBR the program and the team were going in different directions. James Young inherited a Red Bank program that to put it nicely was a mess…a real mess for over a decade.  Since JAMES YOUNG has arrived Red Bank Reg has become a PROGRAM AND NOT JUST A TEAM. Both on and off the basketball court. These days people take RBR very seriously, and unless you were around before his arrival you can’t understand, unless you know a little history…. Because it was not always this way!

untitled joe When Joe Whalen took over the St. Rose basketball program, not many people outside the alumni, wanted to be there coach. St. Rose had just lost two first team All Shore players in Kasey Chambers (u-Penn) and Sam Clark (Fordham) one of the best players in all of America. They also lost there entire starting five and the head coach of the defending SCT champs resigned. It was believed that it would be many years before St. Rose would make it back to elite status if ever. But Joe Whalen had different ideas.


100 wins is just part of WHAT COACH YOUNG HAS DONE

James Young came to RBR after coaching the boys at RFH. Today RFH boys enjoy great success. But what many forget is that when James Young became the head coach at RFH, the program had zero tradition and little if any success. But James Young is not a person who believes in building teams…he builds programs, something that will last. He knew getting into the community, getting young kids playing and most importantly teaching kids what commitment is about; is how you build a PROGRAM. This is what James Young did for RFH. He also did the same thing at RBR.

When he became the Head Coach the first thing he did was teach his team about commitment and most importantly development. James Young got his broken team in the gym. He got them training and playing AAU, he put in a off season program, but more importantly he brought a family atmosphere to RBR and none of these things have anything to do with winning and losing. It has everything to do with building a program…NOT A TEAM. Teams last a year or two…programs last FOREVER! I don’t believe I know at team, where the players respect and love their coach more.



Joe Whalen had coached at two powerhouse schools when he was hired at St. Rose. He was an asst coach under Bob Hurley at St. Anthony’s and a asst coach at St. Pats. Both are mega powerhouse programs, where anything except a state title is a disappointing season. From the day Joe Whalen was hired he had to know the shore was unlike any girls conference in America. He was attacked on social media and he had not coached a game yet. Many believed he and St. Rose were going to “GET THEIR’S” …St. Rose had not  much left when he arrived, a little known freshman named Kat Phipps was returning and Sara Kurtz, two young ladies that played small roles in the team’s success. They both moments in the SCT and maybe they could help St. Rose stay respectable at best. St. Rose as one reporter put it was going though a “radical transition”. But Joe Whalen is the ultimate teacher and is a master at developing players.



In James Young’s first year at RBC he more that doubled his teams wins. They did it by playing an aggressive style of TEAM BASKETBALL.  James Young took two sport players, and made then into basketball players. He showed them how to play together and he not just won over his team, but the school and the community as well…Coach Young was building a program.



Joe Whalen in his first year, surprised everyone when St. Rose did not fall off the map. Joe Whalen’s team almost knocked off the #1 rated Kelly Hughes led Point Boro team in the SCT. The St. Rose faithful still talk about the fathom call that saved Pt. Boro in overtime that night. But more importantly, Joe Whalen sent a message to the entire state, St. Rose was going nowhere. The stars and coach of the SCT champs may have been gone, but not the tradition and program.  Joe Whalen had taken a bunch of kids most knew little of and had little respect for into players. Joe Whalen turned Kat Phipps into a superstar, he turned little used Cindy Napolitano into the greatest three point shooter in the states history. Kids like Payton Smith were given roles and like the defensive stopper. Jess Louro was a transfer that nobody cared very much about or talked about…that would all change when Joe Whalen developed her into a mega star. Joe Whalen was building the roman empire at St. Rose right under everyone’s nose.


Coach Young has kids playing in the final four

Making the SCT and State tournament is not something people at RBR gave much thought about before James Young was hired at RBR. That was a pipe dream, but in coach Young’s 1st year at RBR, that’s exactly what happen. Today RBR try’s to reach that goal every year. James Young has set standards at RBR, standards that involve more than winning games. He is a Joe Montano disciple and the kids at RBR understand you play as a team and for the school. It’s James Young that now shows up at college games watching his ex -players. Like Zoe Curtis and Rachael Krauss  both who are staring at Montclair State one of the best D3 schools in America. Both last year played in the D3 final four and are living what only can be called a dream athletic experiences. The thought of kids playing college basketball at such an high level from RBR was never a thought before James Young. Trapped between two storied programs and coaches at  RBC and RFH. Coach Young knows that his job is always a tough one. But just like he teaches his kids, it’s about what you do with what you got…James Young uses what he has about as good as anyone these days.


Kat Phipps and Jess Louro became  MEGA STARS

Joe Whalen’s record in four years at St. Rose is 100-16 with 2 state titles and a TOC final appearance is cartoonish, when you think about it. It was suppose to be years before St. Rose was good again. But remember what Joe Whalen said when he took the job…”I LIKE PRESSURE” It’s a good thing because with success comes jealousy and real competition to be the best. Joe Whalen teams  play hard and they play the right way. Many believe Whalen is one of the best bench coaches in the state. But what most are missing is this. Joe Whalen is a star maker, Kat Phipps destroyed the three point shooting record set by teammate Napolitano a year earlier.  Jess Louro won the HOOP GROUP PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Both were not household names or considered top players entering high school. But when they left St. Rose, they were ALL STATE, ALL SHORE players before  moving on to college on full D1 scholarships. This was not KC Chambers or a Sam Clark who were household names entering high school. These were kids that nobody gave much thought about. Now they are legendary players in St. Rose history. Today every starting player on the St. Rose roster is a D1 players and not one was listed as star going into high school….they are all stars now!


James Young and his staff have made RBR a Family

1oo wins for a coach is nice, but it’s how you get there that means most. James Young runs the Maroon and White summer event. College coaches line up for the event. It gives his program a profile and name recognition. It lets people know, RBR is serious about their PROGRAM. James Young also gives back to the shore community, because this event helps so many kids. It was he who did so much for PLAYER OF THE YEAR  candidate  and three time ALL SHORE PLAYER Stephanie Karcz and watched her go play for Middletown South.  RBR is lucky to have Coach Young and the 100 wins are just a small part of what Coach Young has brought to the table. Because the respect he has brought to the program may be more important than any of his wins.


Coach Whalen has worked and coached with the best

100 wins is nice but what is nicer, is giving kids a platform to shine. Joe Whalen has done this. He is a basketball junkie and its his life. He coaches AAU and last year Sid Sabino, Nicole Morris, Jill Falvery, among others all signed D1 scholarships. None where stars at there high school, but they were stars for Coach Whalen. Coach Whalen believes in making kids give their best. The amount of publicity and attention that Joe Whalen’s team has brought to St. Rose is priceless. But more importantly Joe Whalen has allowed a small school in Belmar to hold their head up high and not fall apart, when everyone was predicting gloom and doom.


Two men, have arrived at the same number. Both paths were different, James Young building a PROGRAM and getting RESPECT for a school and it’s kids. Joe Whalen taking on the big time programs, while getting kicked around  by some in and outside his program and not backing down, all the while teaching kids how to win. The Shore is very lucky and the pictures with the #100 on the balls are all great….but the 100 wins is just a small part of what these men have accomplished.



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PARENTS, COACHES…CORE SKILLS STARTS THIS SATURDAY…I strongly urge your kids to attend this program. https://hoopgroup.com/headquarters/weekly-instruction-programs/


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