Nottingham Baseball Head Coach Jim Maher will be inducted into the NJSCA Hall of Fame. File Photo by Michael A. Sabo
By Rich Fisher
Feb. 8: On the same week his angst as a lifelong Eagles fan finally came to an end, Jim Maher had another pleasant surprise come his way.
Maher was informed today, that he will be inducted into the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements as baseball coach at Florence, Hamilton and Nottingham high schools, along with his stellar work as Florence cross country coach.
The Steinert High graduate and lifelong Hamiltonian was selected for the prestigious honor out of a list of nominees from throughout New Jersey, and will have his name and school included on the Class of 2018 tablet in the NJSCA Hall of Fame Room in NJSIAA Headquarters in Robbinsville. The induction program will be held Apr. 8 at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village at noon.
“I am very humbled by this honor and have been very blessed to have good players assistant coaches and, for the most part, parents,” Maher said. “Coaching baseball is what I always wanted to do and to reach the highest honor is very special.”
Maher is entering his fourth season as Nottingham head coach, coming off a campaign in which he won his 400th high school game. Maher has an overall record of 402-172 for a .734 winning percentage. He won 146 at Florence, 204 with Hamilton and is at 52 and counting with Nottingham.
Included among those victories are one state championship with Hamilton, three Central Jersey sectional titles (two with West, one with Nottingham), nine Colonial Valley Conference division titles and one Carpenter Cup crown. His teams have made eight trips to sectional championship games and three to the Mercer County Tournament finals (the one crown that has eluded him).
Maher has been named Mercer County Coach of the Year seven different times. He has sent over 50 players to play in college, has had several professional players and produced one Major Leaguer in James Hoey.
Maher has also had outstanding success coaching Babe Ruth All Stars and Collegiate Baseball in the summer, and has served as a college assistant.
He feels his honor is the culmination of a lot of work by numerous people.
“I’ve had great mentors in Rich Giallella, Dave Jauss, Doc Sanford, Butch Miller, Rick Dell, Chuck Giambelluca, Marty Flynn, Ken Rauba, Ron Nicklow, Fred Walters, and the Freemans (Rick and Ken),” Maher said. “Even my rec basketball coach at Barton and Cooney, Dick Fisher, made an impact at a young age. He taught us the importance of bouncing back from a loss, which we needed because we never won a lot.”
Maher has always been a media favorite, and it’s not surprising since he acknowledged that one of his pleasures in coaching was enjoying post-game interviews with the likes of George and Joe O’Gorman, along with late, legendary scribes such as Tony Persichelli, Sal Guidotti, Jim Davis and Joe Logue.
And, of course, there is his support system.
“Special thanks go to my family (wife Lynn, children Shannon, Matt),” Maher said. “And also Tommy Carr, Johnny Costantino and Mike Petrowski, who were with me for a long time. I wish Tommy could have been here when I got the letter today; but I knew he wasn’t about to miss the Eagles parade so I understand. Hopefully, he got on TV at the Art Museum. Wish I could have been there with him.”