Vineland’s head coach Josh Hedgeman, address the team runs plays during Football Camp held at Vinland High School. Photo/Dave Griffin

Dave Griffin

Vineland High School athletic director Don Robbins said he was caught by surprise when Josh Hedgeman abruptly resigned as the school's football coach during their end-of-season evaluation meeting last month.

Hedgeman went 10-20 in three seasons with the Fighting Clan, including 2-8 this season. But Robbins said the program was moving in the right direction.

"I thought he was doing a good job," Robbins said in a phone interview Thursday.

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But the Fighting Clan are looking for a new coach after Hedgeman stepped down Dec. 20.

Robbins said Hedgeman did not provide a reason, even though he said they have spoken since the meeting.

Hedgeman, who does not work for the school, did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.

When he was hired at Vineland three years ago, he was working as a youth pastor at First Baptist Church of Jericho in Deptford Township, and according to his LinkedIn profile he still holds that position.

Hedgeman arrived at Vineland after six years away from football. He had coached Schalick to a 37-27 record from 1999-2004, winning South Jersey titles in his last two seasons there.

Vineland went 30-60 in the nine seasons prior to Hedgeman taking the job. While the results were similar the past three years, Robbins said Hedgeman had "done good things for our program."

"A lot of the programs and initiatives that Josh started (were positive)," Robbins said. "(He had) mandatory study halls for the student athletes. Off-the-field programs to bring accountability to the kids are going to pay dividends in the future."

Robbins said the position will be posted next week. He said he does not have a list of candidates yet.

"I'm looking for the best person to lead our young men," Robbins said. "I don't want to pigeonhole myself in because the job's a big job. There are a lot of angles to it, a lot of facets, and we're looking for the best person to fit our situation."

Robbins said he has no timetable for a new hire. It could happen in a matter of days or it could take several weeks.

"We're going to go as fast as we can, but we're not going to go so fast that we're not going to make the right decision," he said.

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