Legendary New Providence football coach Frank Bottone has passed at the age of 86.
He will truly be missed by not only his family and the New Providence community, but by a New Jersey football community that came to know him over the past 50 years.
Bottone went out a winner, the last game he coached was New Providence’s 21-8 win over Lincoln in the 2010 North 2, Group 1 state championship contest at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
The Caldwell High School graduate compiled an impressive 334-125-7 final record as the only varsity head coach New Providence had from 1965-2010.
He started the football program at New Providence in 1963 and after two seasons he elevated the Pioneers to varsity status in 1965.
During his 46 seasons as a varsity head coach, Bottone guided the Pioneers to eight state championships, two before the playoff era and then six more after that.
His final team in 2010 went 11-1 and was his first state championship team since 1989 when that squad won N2, G1 for the third straight year.
When he retired seven years ago, Bottone was the fourth winningest coach in New Jersey and No. 1 in Union County.
Bottone coached against present Point Pleasant Beach head coach John Wagner for the 25 seasons Wagner was the head coach at Roselle Park from 1981-2005. Wagner, a 1969 Roselle Park graduate, also played against New Providence teams coached by Bottone.
“Frank was a great man, a mentor to me and friend,” Wagner said. “He was nothing but class and grace after a win or loss.
“What a role model. A great Pioneer!”
Scott Miller, a 1987 Brearley Regional graduate and now finishing his 16th season as the head coach at Brearley, played against Bottone-coached teams and also coached against Bottone.
“Frank was a great ambassador for high school football,” Miller said. “He was a great man for the New Providence community – just a great man period.
“He will be missed.”