TOMS RIVER – Jack Boylan has reached the finish line.
Boylan has retired as the head boys cross country, head winter track and field and head spring track and field coach at Toms River High School North.
The former Lakewood performer coached the Mariners to numerous titles in 13 seasons.
He has traded in his stopwatch and whistle for a career in the business field after teaching health and physical education at North for 13 years and Lakewood for 12 years. Boylan coached North’s boys teams for 13 seasons. He mentored Lakewood’s boys and girls teams for 12 years.
“I am going into my family’s business to help my brother because my father is on his way to retiring with Pine Belt Enterprises,” Boylan, 49, said. “I will also continue to work out, spend time with my family and travel.”
Boylan left a trophy case chock full of team championships at North and Lakewood. And there were numerous individual championships at both schools.
At North, there were 14 Shore Conference divisional team championships. There were seven Ocean County team championships. There was one Shore Conference meet team championship. There were two NJSIAA Group III sectional team championships. The Mariners’ 4×400-meter relay team staged a gold rush, speeding to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions.
Boylan’s girls and boys teams also sped to numerous successes at Lakewood.
In girls action, there were seven divisional team titles. There were six Ocean County team titles. There were three Shore Conference team titles. There was one Group III sectional team title. There were all-American relay teams in 1998, 1999 and 2002. There was a third-place finish in the 4×100 relay at the Tri-State Championship of America at the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
His Piners’ boys set all-time Ocean County records in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.
“I enjoyed coaching both genders and all three sports,” Boylan said. “They were all different. I was very fortunate to have had the best loyal assistant coaches and talented kids who bought into our system. At North, our saying was, ‘All In.’ At Lakewood, our saying was, ‘We Believe.’ “
Who did Boylan consider his top athletes?
“Wow, that’s a tough question,” he said. “At North, my best was Abdolahe Diawara. He could do anything. He was a vocal captain who could back it up.”
Diawara led the winning 4×400 relay team in the Meet of Champions. It was the lone team from Ocean County to capture the event in meet history.
Boylan’s best at Lakewood was sprinter Shakeema Martin, who competed in the 100, 200 and 400 for the Piners.
“Shakeema was a big part of many of our championships,” Boylan said. “It was so hard to say who my best girls athlete was at Lakewood.”
Boylan hopes he’s thought of as a caring coach.
“I would like to be remembered as a fair, consistent, but tough coach who cared about his entire program and had a passion for his entire career.”
Boylan competed for the Piners under then-coach Al Ridley.
“He taught me how to be fair and tough and how to develop a great rapport with the kids,” Boylan said. “My parents are my number one role models in my life.”
Boylan said social media has made an impact on his programs.
“Kids are kids,” he said. “Social media is keeping more kids from coming out for the teams. Because of social media, they are not as committed. The biggest challenge was trying to get more kids to come out for the teams.”
Boylan pushed his athletes hard.
“I had high expectations for our athletes,” he said. “I worked with them, giving them positive reinforcement when I saw any improvement. The most rewarding aspect of coaching was seeing our student-athletes come across the finish line with a personal best. I enjoyed the battles at every meet.
“I enjoyed planning our practices and communicating with our athletes and assistant coaches. I enjoyed the hype on meet days. I enjoyed working with my assistant coaches each day.”
He thanked his wife, Laura, for her support. Also earning thanks were his assistant coaches and athletes.
“I want to thank her for allowing me to put in hours and hours of coaching to do it the right way,” he said. “She was so supportive. I also want to thank my assistant coaches and student-athletes for giving everything they had. Without them, we would have never been successful.”
Boylan enjoyed much success at Lakewood where he earned All-Ocean County and All-Shore honors in numerous running events. He graduated from West Chester University where he earned a teaching degree in health and physical education. He graduated from Georgian Court University with a Master’s Degree in supervision and curriculum.
“Ever since I was in the 10th grade I wanted to coach,” he said. “I wanted to give a positive experience back to my community because I received such a great experience.”