Longtime Bridgewater-Raritan HS athletics director to retire this fall

After a quarter century as an athletics director, including the past 23 years at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, John Maggio has decided to retire, making it official with Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Maggio, who spent two years as the AD at Bound Brook before taking over at Bridgewater-Raritan in July of 1999, will work his last day Nov. 30. He said he originally planned to retire in August, but with some of the programs at the school undergoing major transitions, including the football team bringing in a new head coach, he wanted to ensure thing were running smoothly before turning over the keys to Somerset County’s largest athletics department.

“I love being the AD at Bridgewater-Raritan. I love the district, I love my coaching staff, athletic trainers, support staff, and all the departments I work with in the district. The only reason I’m leaving is I’m going to be 61 at the end of November,” Maggio said. “I really love the job, the people I work with, and our coaching staff if second to none. As is our administration and district. It’s all top notch. I have zero complaints. It’s just that I’m getting older, and I want to do some of the things I have not been able to do.”

A graduate of Bound Brook High School, where he played football and baseball, Maggio went to Glassboro State, before eventually returning to his alma mater as an assistant football coach. He then moved to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, where he spent nine years as an assistant football and strength coach, before getting the AD job at Bound Brook in 1997.

Two years later, he moved to Bridgewater-Raritan, replacing Carl Weigner, becoming just the second AD the school has had in its 31-year history.

Athletics is in Maggio’s blood, and being an AD had been a longtime dream for the son of Ben Maggio, who spent 40 years in athletics, including 24 as the AD at Plainfield. John Maggio’s brother, Fran, is a Hall of Fame coach at Roselle Park High School, and the winningest softball coach in Union County history.

“I grew up in that environment, and I wanted to be an AD since I was in the sixth grade,” Maggio said.

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Maggio has not only run the athletic department at Somerset County’s largest school, he has tirelessly served on numerous state, conference and county committees, and ran several county tournaments, including the SCT softball tournament for 22 years. He also hosted plenty of county championships, including the Somerset County basketball finals.

He is the longest tenured AD in the Skyland Conference, and at a Somerset County public school.

Rich Shello has been the athletics director at Ridge since 1998, coming in a year after Maggio began at Bound Brook. Shello is also the son of a longtime area athletics director. His father, Mike Shello, spent over 40 years at Dunellen.

“I’m going to miss John tremendously,” said Shello, who even spent a year working under John Maggio’s father at Plainfield, as an assistant football, basketball and baseball coach. “He’s been a colleague and a friend, certainly, and we’ve both in this business a long time. We’re both sons of athletics directors from the area, and I was quite surprised when he first mentioned he was thinking about it (retirement). I didn’t expect it. John has done a tremendous job for Bridgewater, the way he’s led the program there, and what he’s done for the Skyland Conference and our Somerset County association. He’s been a workhorse. We are going to greatly miss him and all that he’s done.”

“I will miss working daily with our coaches, athletic trainers and staff,” Maggio said. “I’ve been an AD for 26 years. It’s non-stop. And I’ll miss that. I’ll miss the games and doing what I do. I’m sure there’s other things I’ll miss that I don’t know I’ll miss. I’ll also miss my colleagues, the other athletics directors. I’ll miss the work that we do and seeing them.

“There are a lot of really great things going on at Bridgewater-Raritan, and I’m disappointed that I won’t be around to see all the positive things they’ve got planned for the future. But at some point you’ve got to move on. I know when everything’s good, it’s the time to go.”

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Maggio is looking forward to life away from the 24/7, 365-day-a-year responsibilities of running a massive athletics operation. He’s looking forward to fishing and spending more time with his wife., Chrissy, their daughters, Francis and Dena, and their son, Jake, who is playing football at West Liberty College in West Virginia.

“I know it’s the right time to do it,” he said. “I’m still in good health and I’m looking forward to doing some of things I haven’t been able to do.”

“I couldn’t be happier for John as he opens this new chapter of his life,” said Bridgewater-Raritan softball coach Sandy Baranowski, who arrived with the Panthers just a year before Maggio was hired. “Finally, a time when he can put himself first after a career of dedicated service to both Bridgewater-Raritan and Bound Brook athletics. A true professional at a job that is, at times, thankless. It has been an honor to work with John for all these years. He will be deeply missed by all of the coaches here at BR as well as the athletes. I hope he knows the impact he has made on this community. I wish him all the best.

“Fish beware!”

Simeon Pincus has been covering New Jersey sports since 1997. He can be reached atSPincus@GannettNJ.com. Follow him on Twitter @SimeonPincus

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