Hall of Fame Inductee - Carl Weigner - Athletic Director for 20 years
Recently the athletic history of the Bridgewater-Raritan High School, which opened in 1959, has received a great deal of attention as a long overdue Athletic Hall of Fame has at last been established. The first induction dinner that honored many individuals, teams, coaches, and athletic directors was held last October.

Unfortunately, many of the pioneers and legendary coaches from the early years are no longer with us. But one of the pioneers remains. Carl Weigner, who has spent over half a century in local high school sports, is widely recognized as the senior spokesperson who represents a wondrous past era of Bridgewater-Raritan High School sports. This author was honored to be able to talk with him about his tenure in athletic administration.
Carl Weigner, now age 85, was born in 1936 in the very small town of Yerkes, Pennsylvania – which is 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Active in local activities from a young age, he did his part on the home front during World War II as he collected cans and newspapers from neighbors and brought them to the recycling collection center.

In high school he played all three sports that his high school offered. In football, he was an end - playing both offense and defense. In basketball, he was a center. In baseball, he played outfield, first base, and occasionally pitched. Thus, he stayed after school for practice almost every day for the entire time he was in high school.

The sport he excelled at most was basketball where he became a top scorer and received all-state honors in his senior year. He graduated in 1954.
Carl Weigner attended college at East Stroudsburg where he played basketball and was co-captain of the track team in his senior year.

He also, as a goalkeeper, earned a varsity letter in soccer.

He was a starter in his Junior and Senior year. In one summer league game he played against Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain.
Majoring in Physical Education, he graduated from college in 1958. His first job was at Hellertown High School which was just outside of Bethlehem PA. There he coached several sports – as an assistant in football, and head coach in both basketball and track - but he did not get to teach Physical Education, instead he taught various other subjects.

Yearning to teach Physical Education, in fall of 1966, he sought out a job at another school. Bridgewater-Raritan High School West had openings as the school had just split with the establishment of High School “East”. He interviewed with the Athletic Director A. J. Troisi and Carl landed the job as physical education teacher. In addition, Carl became the head track coach, assistant football coach, and assistant basketball coach.
The legendary A.J. Troisi hired Carl
In 1978, A. J. Troisi would retire as Athletic Director. Carl was a natural to replace him as he had shared an office with A. J. and was often involved with the tasks that the Athletic Director did. As Athletic Director he oversaw all the sports programs.

Quickly he learned that as Athletic Director he could not continue to coach as it was not fair to the kids. His after-school routine would be to stop by a few games a day to assure that everything was functioning smoothly. In his time, he has attended thousands of games.
Carl Weigner remembers the intense rivalry with the other Bridgewater School – High School East. The chant “West is West, and East is East, but West is Best” is still etched firmly in his mind.

The pinnacle of that rivalry was the Thanksgiving Day Football game between East and West. He simply states it was “incredible”. He remembers that additional stands were brought in to accommodate the thousands who attended. The game that stands out was in 1976, when after eight unsuccessful attempts, West finally beat East 14-13. That day was extra special as it was also Carl’s birthday
The Thanksgiving Day Football Game
was the highlight of the year
Carl in, his tenure as Athletic Director, would oversee the merger of the two rival high schools. That was a difficult and painful task as many spots for both players and coaches were reduced.

Just a couple of his accomplishments include starting the ice hockey program, starting the girl's lacrosse team, and recruiting coach Vaughn Stapleton. Many of the B/R H.S. teams would win State Championships.
Vaughn Stapleton, Andy Martin, and Carl
When asked about which team stood out, he immediately recalls the 1987 Boys’ Basketball Team. He easily rattled off the starting lineup which included future NBA player Eric Murdoch.

As for a player who caused a stir, without hesitation, he says basketball player Glenn Snape.
Carl remembers how Glenn Snape caused quite a stir
When asked about what the biggest difference is with today’s high school athletes compared with those of his era, he says “specialization”. Young athletes today usually concentrate on only one sport, while years ago it was common for athletes to play two or more sports.

Anyone ever involved in youth sports knows that the biggest headache is not the kids, but the parents. However, Carl, ever positive in his reflection about his career, says that he always had great parents to work with. He attributes his excellent relationship with the parents to his involvement with the booster clubs.
When asked if the student athletes of today are better than those from his era, he disputes the modern consensus that the athletes today are better than those of decades ago - saying that the players of his era are just as good as those today.
In 1999, after over 40 years in school sports and 21 as Athletic Director, he would retire. Well, at least as Athletic Director.

Carl would remain in a secondary job as President for the Skyland Conference making the schedules for dozens of schools. A position that he still holds to this day.

Also, soon after retirement he was recruited to be the assistant track coach at Somerville High School. He was assistant for ten years and then he became head coach for three more years.
One other post retirement job that he held for five years was as an usher at the Somerset Patriots Baseball Games. There he was a good fit as he knew the majority of the people that attended the game.

He also had two temporary (a few months) Athletic Director jobs at Bound Brook and New Brunswick High Schools.
When asked about his career as Athletic Director, he says his experience has been the best – and that he is blessed to have had many fine athletes, coaches, and administrators to work with.

He still meets with many of the old gang once a month for breakfast.

His colleague Tim Ortelli, who coached under him, says about Carl:
Carl Weigner embodied Bridgewater-Raritan High School. He is a legendary person in the community - a "hands on" person who always communicated his expectations. Thus, I and others, never wanted to let him down. I always knew I had his total support and loyalty. He has lived a great life supporting his coaches and athletes and has touched many lives.
Pro football coach Dick Vermeil with Carl
This year Carl is being inducted into the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

While he has received many awards over the years, he feels this hall of fame induction is the top honor of his career.