Haddonfield Memorial High School football coach Frank DeLano has achieved many awards for his work within the school district.
For all he has done, DeLano was to receive the Haddonfield Alumni Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award as a teacher and coach on Saturday, Nov. 26. The ceremony was to be held at the high school library.
“I was really happy to hear that I was nominated for this award. Hearing the (name) Lifetime Achievement Award, I was shocked, as I’m 40. But I feel very lucky and very blessed,” DeLano said. “I am honored that someone thought I made a difference in their life. They probably had just as big of an impact on my life as I did on them.”
The HAS has been honoring many of Haddonfield’s graduates and teachers for 12 years. Locals are asked to nominate individuals they feel should be recognized for their achievements. Nominees must be graduates of either the high school or one of its public schools, or a teacher, if he or she has taught for at least seven years.
Delano has certainly distinguished himself, helping the HMHS football team achieve many great wins since being hired as head coach in 2002. The team has won three South Jersey Group II championships in the past five seasons, and Delano recorded his 100th career win last season. Before DeLano was hired as head coach, winning was not a regular occurrence for the Bulldawgs. The team had only made two playoff appearances and won one playoff game in the previous 15 years.
Now he has Haddonfield fine-tuned into one of the top teams in the area.
Delano has been recognized in other ways for his hard work on the field, achieving New Jersey State Coach of the Year in 2010 and being inducted into the South Jersey Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2015.
However, he isn’t just a positive influence on the football field, he is one in the classroom as well. As Haddonfield Middle School science and math teacher, DeLano has stressed hard work, ethics, dedication, being the best you can and respecting your parents. DeLano employs those same traits on the football field.
“He leads by example, and his enthusiasm is infectious. He instills a strong work ethic, self-respect and respect for others, self-confidence and a drive to be your best,” the HAS press release said of DeLano.
“At the end of the day, coaching is teaching, trying to get the best out of people, whether in the classroom or in the football field,” DeLano said.
DeLano humbly said he could not achieve all he has without the community’s help. He said it is the Haddonfield staff, teachers, parents, coaches and kids who also helped to get him to where he is. DeLano preaches “team first” and mantras of “together we will” and “Haddonfield football family,” because he thinks it is important to work together and make a positive impact on the community.
“It is not about me … I couldn’t do this alone. It’s the kids, teachers, coaches and parents all working together,” DeLano said.
Looking at those in the past who have been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award, DeLano said he was proud to be associated with such individuals who have made lasting impressions. He hopes he has done the same.
DeLano is a graduate of Gloucester Catholic High School where he played baseball, football and ice hockey. He continued to play football and ice hockey in college at King’s College in Pennsylvania, where he majored in elementary education with a minor in psychology. DeLano lives in Runnemede with his wife Karen and two children, Lauren, 8, and Matthew, 4.