Jim Doyle certainly knew how to tell a story.
While many of his tales were inspiring, others ended with his signature raspy laugh.
Whether the tone is serious or comedic, “Coach Doyle” has made a lasting impression on generations of its athletes and Triton Regional High School students, many of whom can still recite the stories.
Doyle, a football and track and field head coach and physical education teacher for more than 35 years, died on Thursday. He was 92 years old.
“He coached me 44 years ago and the lessons I learned from him still stuck with me today,” said Tony Trongone, a 1980 Triton graduate and all-conference defensive end, who is now superintendent of the Millville School District.
“Coach Doyle gave the best speeches. When he gave that speech before a game, you would run through a wall for him. … He was a class act and he was Triton’s man.
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Bob Smith had a close relationship with Doyle, with whom he coached. Their offices were side by side in the physical education department of Triton. Along with future head football coach Fred Ewell, they even worked summer jobs together doing deliveries for Sears.
“He always told it like it was,” Smith said. “Just a great, down to earth guy.”
Doyle led Triton football through its heyday, guiding the Mustangs to a 70-48-7 record over 12 seasons, including the unbeaten 1968 team and South Jersey’s first-ever Group 4 championship in 1973 when the title was awarded according to the schedule. .
“He was a coach who became a lifelong friend,” said Ed McLaughlin, who was the defensive lineman for the 1968 team. “He was always ready under pressure. He said: “Stay with me, stay focused and we will win. He was right.”
McLaughlin said Doyle remained active long after his retirement, playing a lot of golf and helping out with the Triton Athletic Hall of Fame committee.
Doyle was a constant spectator at Thanksgiving matches against rival Highland, although McLaughlin said the former ball coach rarely saw many of those competitions.
“The whole game, people were always coming up to him, shaking his hand and talking about the good old days,” McLaughlin said. “He meant so much to so many people.”
Mark Bergman wasn’t a star on the grill, but he said Doyle made everyone feel like one.
“He always made you feel important and he knew all the kids on that pitch,” Bergman said. “He was a motivator and a picky eater, but it was all done in a positive way.”
Doyle led the Mustangs men’s track and field program from 1972 to 1992, winning an Olympic Conference title in 1976.
After retiring from teaching in 1992, Doyle would become inducted into the Triton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. The school also plans to honor Doyle posthumously with Coach Jim Doyle’s flag on the stadium grounds. John Oakes.
Before being the Tri-High man at Runnemede, Doyle grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Roman Catholic high school. He then played football and golf at Temple University before starting his family in Cherry Hill.
Doyle’s coaching career began at Glassboro where he led the athletics (1956-66) and football (1960-65) programs.
“He was a legend at Glassboro,” said Bob Mannino, a Glassboro native who would later become a colleague of Doyle at Triton as a teacher, coach and athletic director. “Glassboro’s football coach is like the mayor and that’s what he was.”
Doyle led Glassboro to the Olympic Conference and Gloucester County championships in 1964 when the Bulldogs went 8-1 with four shutouts. While at Glassboro, he would mentor Marvin Slomsky, who later became a legendary coach for the program and for whom the school stadium is named.
During his time as a track and field coach, Doyle participated in the first-ever athletic event in Olympic Conference history, a May 16, 1959, track and field meet with the conference’s original five schools – Williamstown , Edgewood, Delaware Township, Deptford and Glassboro.
Doyle was inducted into the Glassboro High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
After a brief stint at Lenape where he coached football in 1966, Doyle began his storied run at Triton.
“Coach Doyle was an icon of South Jersey football in the 60s and 70s,” Trongone said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Tom McGurk is a regional sports editor for the Courier-Post, the Daily Journal and the Burlington County Times, covering South Jersey sports for over 30 years. If you have a sports story to tell, contact him at (856) 486-2420 or email email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @McGurkSports. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.