Citing the reason to be available to spend more time with his children and their sports, today, Wednesday, Dec. 4, Terry Hanratty officially stepped down as Roselle Park’s head football coach.
“It’s completely a family issue,” said Hanratty, 47, who was the head coach at Roselle Park since 2012, leading the Panthers to a 39-36 record in seven varsity seasons. “My kids have grown, they’re all playing sports and it’s time to be there for them.”
Here’s what Hanratty wrote in his letter to Roselle Park Principal Sarah Costa: “Dear Ms. Costa, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the chance to coach the Varsity Football team. Due to my family situation, at this time, I will need to step-down from my position as the Head Varsity Football Coach. I will always cherish the fine memories coaching at Roselle Park High School. I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way and it’s truly been a great eight years
“In closing, I would appreciate it if you could please share this letter with the Superintendent and Board of Education members. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.”
Sincerely, Terrence J. Hanratty
Hanratty’s oldest child, Kelly, is a freshman at Gov. Livingston and involved in volleyball, basketball and softball.
Terrence is in 8th grade and plays football, basketball and baseball. Cora is in 7th grade and competes in gymnastics all year around, while Tyce is in 5th grade and plays soccer, basketball and baseball.
Hanratty is not totally ruling out a return to coaching.
“Right now I may consider being an assistant or I will just take a break,” Hanratty said.
Hanratty guided Roselle Park to three winning seasons and two .500 campaigns, including the 2012 team to the North 2, Group 1 state championship game at MetLife Stadium. Roselle Park went 9-3 in that season, Hanratty’s first at the helm of the Panthers.
Roselle Park also reached the semifinal round of its sectional playoffs in 2013 (8-3) and 2017 (7-4). The 2017 team defeated Roselle 7-6 at home in the 100th game of their Thanksgiving Day series.
Roselle Park did not field a varsity team last year because of a lack of juniors and seniors. A junior varsity schedule was played, including a game at home that included the band and cheerleaders performing as well.
The Panthers returned with a varsity team this year and went 2-9, winning at Dayton and then at home against Highland Park in a consolation game. Roselle Park’s season ended on Thanksgiving at Roselle, a 50-36 defeat.
“I’ve been waiting for this class to be seniors next year and will miss coaching them,” Hanratty said. “I met with them today and hugged them all.”
Hanratty, who was a head coach at GL for eight years before moving over to Roselle Park, will always be grateful for his time with the Panthers. He was 4-5 in the playoffs, including three semifinals and one final.
“It was like family here,” Hanratty said.
Hanratty’s record at GL was 41-43, with the Highlanders making the playoffs his first six seasons. GL reached the 2008 North 2, Group 2 state championship game at Giants Stadium, finishing 7-5 that year. The 2004 (6-5) and 2006 (8-3) teams also reached sectional semifinals. He was 4-6 in the playoffs, including three semifinals and one final. Four teams finished above .500 and two at .500.
“GL was also a great experience,” Hanratty said. “I got to coach Division 1 players and players that made it to Princeton (Mountainside resident Matt Zimmerman among them).”
Hanratty acknowledged there were good seasons and some not as good at both GL and Roselle Park.
“They were all exciting,” Hanratty said.
Hanratty, a 1990 Elizabeth High School graduate who went on to play football and baseball at Kean College, was also an assistant coach for seven years at Elizabeth, under Jerry Moore, and then for two more at Linden, under Bucky McDonald. Hanratty played his varsity football at Elizabeth under Moore, with the Minutemen winning the North 2, Group 4 state championship his junior and senior seasons of 1988 (10-1) and 1989 (11-0 and No. 1 in in New Jersey).
Hanratty’s first choice to succeed him at Roselle Park would be Greg Dunkerton, who has been coaching with him the past 16 seasons, all eight at GL and all eight at Roselle Park.
“Greg is the best guy I’ve ever met in my life,” Hanratty said. “He’s highly-intelligent.
“He began as a line coach with me in 2004 and worked his way up to be my main assistant. We were like co-coaches this year.”
Hanratty will remain teaching physical education at GL.
TERRY HANRATTY AT GOV. LIVINGSTON (41-43):
2004: 6-5, sectional semifinals
2006: 8-3, sectional semifinals
2008: 7-5 – North 2, Group 2 state championship game
Semifinals: 3 times
TERRY HANRATTY AT ROSELLE PARK (39-36):
2012: 9-3 – North 2, Group 1 state championship game
2013: 8-3, sectional semifinals
2017: 7-4, sectional semifinals
Semifinals: 3 times