When John Cobb got a call from longtime coach and fellow West Deptford Hall of Fame member Sally Jordan informing him that he was about to be inducted to another prestigious institution, he began to think back.
“It makes you reflect on a lot of things, I think,” said Cobb, who will be inducted in to the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday. “When I was fortunate enough to get in West Deptford Hall of Fame, my father was still alive, and I thought a lot about that. He won’t be around this time. That’s something I thought a lot about, because my father played such a big role in shaping my life.”
Cobb—who is among the 13 new inductees to the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame during the 32nd Annual Induction Banquet on March 27 at Auletto’s Caterers in Deptford—credits his father with first getting him involved with golf. It’s the sport he currently coaches at West Deptford and continues to play passionately.
“Sports have been an enormous part of my life, even in the business world, because you will always have competition,” Cobb said. “I am very fortunate to have been involved for so long. My father got me started in golf, and that has helped me tremendously in business."
While he continues to help mold local youth improve their golf game, it was his time and service as a soccer coach that has put him in his second hall of fame.
He coached the West Deptford girls’ soccer program to Colonial Conference championships in 1999, 2001 and 2002 as well as a South Jersey sectional title in 1999. He was named South Jersey Coach of the Year in 1999. In his 15 years as head coach, his teams compiled a record of 236-65-18.
He also served as assistant boys' coach from 1985 through 1994.
When Cobb first found out he was joining an exclusive group of coaches, he kept the news close to his vest, telling only his wife and his former soccer coach at Gloucester County College, Barry Ray.
“I have been fortunate to be coached by a lot of great people, and Barry is someone that had a huge impact on my life,” Cobb said. “He took a personal interest in me. I have always very much cared about my kids way beyond the skills of soccer, and that’s the way he coached.”
The list of people that Cobb credits hardly stops there. There is former Rutgers golf coach Don Cardia, who Cobb called, “the nicest human being I have ever met;” West Deptford football coach Clyde Folsom, who Cobb said he emulated when building up the girls’ soccer program; assistant girls’ soccer coach Amy Leso, who coached with Cobb for 15 years, though never getting enough credit, according to Cobb; and Aimee Maska, who helped mold the program by coaching the JV program for a decade.
Cobb’s list extended to former players, current coach Veronica McGinniss and even a Little League coach who taught him a thing or two.
Like many coaches before him, Cobb isn’t particularly fond of coaching awards, because he believes the focus should remain on the players. However he is grateful for all that he is achieved and looks forward to continuing his coaching career.
“I always did it because I enjoyed doing it, not because some day I would be in the Hall of Fame,” Cobb said. “I still coach and still enjoy it. I think there are a lot of emotions in me, and I am certainly humbled by this honor.”
Also to be inducted in the Class of 2012 will be Michael Pensabene (Pitman), Joe Alexander (Delsea), Bernard Bunn (Glassboro), Cindy Ogbin (Deptford), Frank Zini (Clayton), Sean Silver (Deptford Twp.), John Jengehino (Williamstown), Arnita Green-Stanford (Delsea), Mike Reynolds (Williamstown), and Paulette Reilley-Cwik (Paulsboro). Former Gloucester Catholic baseball coach Al Radano and Rider University baseball coach Barry Davis are also being inducted.