Football: Lawrence out as Willingboro coach


By Phil Anastasia

A little less than one year ago, Reggie Lawrence was inducted into the South Jersey Football Coaches Association's Hall of Fame.

Today, Lawrence is out of a coaching job.

Lawrence said Monday morning that he has been dismissed from his duties as Willingboro's head coach.

Lawrence said he was told by new Willingboro athletic director Leon Owen that the decision was based on "the results from last year."

Willingboro was 3-7 last season. In his previous four seasons at Willingboro, Lawrence's teams went 26-16 and made the state tournament four times.

Owen didn't not immediately return a telephone message on Monday.

Lawrence, a former Camden star, has been one of South Jersey's most respected coaches in 17 seasons.

He has an overall record of 111-55 during a career with stops at four schools as a head coach: Willingboro, Pennsauken (38-24), Jackson (31-3) and Camden (13-5).

Lawrence's teams at Jackson won South Jersey Group 4 titles in 2000 and 2001.

His 2010 Willingboro team went 10-1.

Lawrence said he was disappointed with the decision for a number of reasons.

"One, when it happened," Lawrence said. "I've been working with these kids to prepare them for next season for the last three months. He (Owen) told me May 15. If it was based on results, those happened in November.

"Two, I enjoy these kids and enjoy coaching.

"Three, I hope this is not what high school coaching is coming to, that you can have one bad year and lose your job. It shouldn't be about wins and losses."

Lawrence hopes to continue as a head coach in the future. He said he likely would serve as an assistant coach on a staff of a South Jersey team next season.

"I've been talking to people," about assistant coaching positions, Lawrence said. "This is what I do, this is what I enjoy. I want to continue to do that."

Lawrence is a Social Studies teacher at Willingboro.

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