Frank Duffy, Phillipsburg Previous position: Phillipsburg defensive coordinator Head coaching experience: First year Replacing: Ryan Ditze (41-15)
It really didn’t hit Frank Duffy until football practice started on Aug, 10.
“(That) morning it seemed surreal,” he said. “To think I was running up the hill from the field house to Phillipsburg’s practice field as the head coach. It didn’t seem all that long ago I was running up the hill as a player under Phil Rohm. I realized I’d kind of come full circle. I couldn’t be happier. There’s no place I’d rather be.”
Duffy may well be living his dream. He’s a Stateliner graduate (Class of 2002) who’s returned home to teach (history) and coach at his alma mater. For many who have worn the Garnet and Gray, such a homecoming is close to an ideal.
Duffy comes well prepared to be a head coach. He was an all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference selection at Shippensburg in one of the toughest Division II conferences in the country. He’s coached in college. He’s been a defensive coordinator at North Warren and P’burg. He’s had a lot of experience for a 32-year-old.
But there’s no question Duffy now embarks on the most challenging experience of his career. All a Phillipsburg football coach is supposed to do is win all the time, take home state championships and regularly defeat one of Pennsylvania’s top programs in a rivalry that redefines the word.
Other than that, no pressure -- but if anybody’s ready for such a pressure cooker, it’s Frank Duffy. After all, he’s been there, on that practice field, in that stadium, on that sideline, before.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.