North Brunswick High football coach to be honored at NFL Jets game

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NORTH BRUNSWICK- Michael Cipot, head coach of the North Brunswick Township High School football team, grew up attending New York Jets games at the Meadowlands.

On Dec. 22, he will now be cited at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Cipot was honored by the New York Jets as their Coach of the Week earlier this fall and will attend the NFL team’s home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 22. He will be honored with other Coach of the Week recipients.

“Its humbling. It is a really exciting award, it is a award you really don’t expect,” Cipot said.

Cipot was named the recipient of the award in September. The Jets selected Cipot following North Brunswick’s 26-0 victory in the season opener against border rival South Brunswick High School, which had won the previous eight meetings between the rival schools.

However, Cipot said he does not take all the credit for the recognition.

“You accept it, but you also wish that the other coaches got a piece of the award because they have been as much as a success here as I have been,” Cipot said.

He also credited his student athletes’ hard work for helping turn the football program into a “real program.”

“They all bought in since we took over three years ago. It has been a very nice success story, being from where we were to where we are now. I feel like we are a real program again, we are a winning program and we are going to be competing for a state championship every year and we are in the playoffs every year,” Cipot said.

He confirmed that the goal of the entire staff since he took over 2017 has been to make the state playoffs.

“We have made (the playoffs) three years in a row. We made it to the state semifinals, a loss this year; we made it to the state finals last year and lost, and the first year we took over we made it back to the playoffs for the first time in six years,” Cipot said.

This season, North Brunswick was on an eight-game winning streak when the Raiders were upset by Cherokee High School, 41-25 in the semifinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association sectional playoffs. Cherokee went on to win the state sectional playoff title.

That loss in the state playoffs ended the season for North Brunswick, which posted a 9-2 record. That finish signaled the third straight year that North Brunswick enjoyed a winning record.

Cipot is a North Brunswick native who grew up attending Jets games with his family. After he graduated from Wesley College of Delaware in 2006, he became the linebacker coach at North Brunswick for four years, then he became the defensive coordinator at Metuchen High for four years before becoming the defensive coordinator at Immaculata High School in Somerville for three years.

He returned home to North Brunswick in 2016 as the defensive coordinator before becoming the head coach the following year.

Growing up, Cipot was a huge fan of Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, so his aunt, who is a diehard Jets fan, would always take him to the Jets-Dolphins games.

“So anytime he was in town I was always at a Jets game to watch him. Sometimes you learn a lot about defense by being an offensive guy. I was an offensive guy as a player, I was an offensive guard, I was a tight end,” Cipot said.

He said he studied a lot of defense in college.

“When I was hurt my junior year of college I did a lot of work with the offensive staff, like film work and game plan stuff. I learned a lot about defense by being on the offensive side,” Cipot said.

Cipot still calls the defense for North Brunswick.

“As a football coach the season never ends, there is always the offseason weight room, the offseason workouts, the recruiting trying to get these guys into college. This is a 24/7 365 days of the year job for me, which I love. There is a passion to it,” Cipot said.

As he gets ready to be honored by the New York Jets, he thinks back to where the North Brunswick football program started.

“You think back to where we were three years ago when we won like eight games in the last five years, then we take over a program and we have been very successful. Obviously, I thank the players for buying in. I thank all the coaches that have been all in since day one with me and enjoy the success that comes to you,” he said.

Cipot said his ultimate goal is to win a state championship but every year his goal is to win the division and make the playoffs.

“Make the playoffs, qualify for the playoffs, because once you make the playoffs there are all new goals and rules. So, we want to be realistic for our goals,” Cipot said.

He stated  that his staff will continue to work hard to bring a state playoff championship to North Brunswick.

Contact Charles Daye at cdaye@newspapermediagroup.com.