Dubuque finds way back to Belleville
New Bucs head coach is familiar with school
BELLEVILLE - It was only a few years ago that John Dubuque was a defensive coordinator at Belleville High School.
And it was a few years ago that Dubuque lost out for the head coaching job at Belleville and opted to take a head football coaching job at Boonton High School in Morris County instead.
But as the planets aligned, the former Belleville High School coach Chris Strumolo departed and the Bucs head coaching job opened again.
Under Strumolo Belleville was 11-19 including a 5-5 record in 2008, his first year as head coach of the Bucs.
At the same time, the Boonton school district would be having a blood bath by firing all its head sports coaches, including Dubuque. “I'm glad to be out of that situation," said Dubuque.
It just seems the right time and the right place as Dubuque heads the Belleville squad going into 2011, Dubuque says.
"It was a perfect timing for me," said Dubuque. "I love where I am right now. It's great working closely with the new AD (Thomas D'Elia). We have the same goals and we know what we have to do to change it. I didn't have the same relationship with the Boonton AD. I have a better rapport with Mr. D'Elia."
Dubuque has been coaching for 13 years that included coaching not only at Belleville and Boonton, but also at Glen Ridge where he played football.
And the Belleville athletic director agreed with the new Bucs head coach and liked his background as an assistant coach and head coach. “His vision for Belleville was closely aligned with that of the athletic department’s,” said D’Elia. “Essentially, raise the standards and offer opportunities and support to help the students rise to the top. Mr. Dubuque is a leader. As such, after he is given the opportunity to establish a concrete foundation, success will follow.”
And it could not work out any better since Dubuque lives in Nutley and does not have to take that drive up Route 80 and 287 to Boonton.
Dubuque, though, does face a killer schedule that includes taking on Montclair and Seton Hall Prep, two of the best teams in Essex County, in Super Essex Conference crossovers. They also have the tough task of being the opponent for the brand-new Foley Field in Bloomfield going against a Bengals team that has not had a home game in more than two years.
"It's going to be an uphill battle,” said Dubuque who though has liked the early going of the start of the practices. “They have been progressing every day."
Belleville High School 2011 football schedule
(Games at 7 p.m. unless noted)
Sept. 9 at Bloomfield
Sept. 16 West Side
Sept. 23 at Livingston
Sept. 30 West Essex
Oct. 6 Millburn, 6 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Montclair, 1 p.m.
Oct. 28 at East Side
Nov. 4 Seton Hall Prep
Nov. 24 at Nutley, 10:30 a.m.