East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants and Gatorade have selected Mr. Mike Arakelian of Hackettstown High School (Hackettstown, NJ) as the Lou Rettino High School Coach of the Week for Week 5 of the 2022 season. On Saturday, the Hackettstown Tigers defeated Sussex County Tech, 44-14, to retain their undefeated record. They face Newton High School this Friday in search of a sixth consecutive win. The Tigers' current 5-0 record is their first winning record since 2017. This year, the team has outscored its opponents, 176-28, after finishing the 2021 season winless at 0-9.
The Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week Award is part of the Giants' continuing effort to support local high school football programs. The Giants elected to name the award in memory of former Union High School (NJ) coach, Lou Rettino, for his fine commitment to the game of football, his community and the betterment of his athletes' lives. Each week during the high school football season, the Giants select one area high school head coach as the Coach of the Week winner. The selection is based on the coach's continued commitment towards promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and contributing overall to their community.
In recognition of Coach Arakelian's selection as Coach of the Week, a $2,000 check will be granted to the school's football program from The Giants Foundation and Gatorade. Arakelian will also receive a certificate of recognition signed by Giants head coach Brian Daboll and will be honored at a dinner following the season, as well as a 2023 pre-season home game.
Coach Arakelian is in his first year as head coach of Hackettstown's football program. Prior to his current role, Arakelian built a lengthy repertoire of athletic accomplishments. He coached two tenures at Morris Catholic (Denville, NJ) for a total of 11 years and spent a year at the collegiate level as Montclair State's linebackers coach. Arakelian most recently served as defensive coordinator at Hanover Park High School. He played both quarterback and wide receiver at Whippany Park High School while also excelling in baseball. He continued his athletic pursuits at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
Arakelian's impact on Hackettstown is already sizable. Hackettstown's success is catalyzed not only by Arakelian's leadership but also his gameplay: Coach Arakelian transformed Hackettstown's offense to incorporate a no-huddle shotgun spread and introduced an aggressive approach to fourth downs and two-point conversions. The young athletes also recognize how Arakelian's demeanor has positively shaped the program.
Jackson Burke, quarterback at Hackettstown, said his team of "playmakers" is becoming stronger and more effective under the new scheme. "I definitely have felt a culture shift. Everyone in the community loves to see it," Burke added. Arakelian prides his athletes and coaching staff for welcoming him to the program with open arms. "We have a great group of kids and a great coaching staff," Arakelian shared. "Our assistant coaches do a phenomenal job in preparing our players. We have a great group of players that work really hard and are receptive to what we are trying to do. Football is a players' game, and we're really fortunate to have good players."