The state known as Jersey is the birthplace of Joe Namath, the 1972 Dolphins team and the state’s football history.
But that doesn’t mean the shaggy-haired director of football operations with the New Jersey Devils is putting his name down for football in the Garden State.
“I love football. I just haven’t had a high school job to pull me into,” he said.
Jim Eckel left a job as offensive coordinator for former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano in 2014 to take on the new challenge of resurrecting the Devils, NJ.com reports. After a 3-9 season, the Devils rebounded to 5-9-1, good enough for a playoff spot last year.
“Now it’s time to finish the job,” he said.
On his plans for the Devils, he said the team will not “go anywhere except to the next level.”
Eckel grew up about 20 miles from Piscataway and graduated from St. Joseph High School. He continued playing ball at nearby Rutgers and played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers. He is now married with three daughters and lives in Piscataway.
The New Jersey Wildcats are now able to officially vie for the playoffs in football for the first time since 2003. Check out our conversation here.