The New Jersey track and field community suffered a huge loss when Bill Bruno, who served six years as an Assistant Director at the NJSIAA and is a member of multiple Hall of Fames, passed away on Saturday morning, the NJSIAA announced.
Bruno, the track and field tournament director for the NJSIAA since 2015, retired from the NJSIAA earlier this month due to health issues. He was 68.
Ever since he joined the track team at Christian Brothers Academy for the indoor track and field season as a freshman in 1967, Bruno was been a towering presence in the sport of track and field for more than 50 years!
You name it, Bruno did it!
He was an athlete, a teacher, a coach, an official, meet director, and an athletic director before he landed the position at the NJSIAA in 2015 where he was the state's leader in cross-country and track and field. Bruno, who also oversaw gymnastics and bowling, and helped bring girls wrestling to New Jersey, made a huge and lasting impression at every stop during his amazing journey.
Through his passion for the sport and his commitment to the student athletes of New Jersey, Bruno was a difference maker during his tenure at the NJSIAA, making many major changes to improve track and field and XC.
Under Bruno's watch, New Jersey track and field underwent the following changes, including but not limited to...
- Increased use of the MileSplit online registration system for state championship meets as we moved toward paperless entries.
- Oversaw committee voted changes to the advancement rules at both the cross country championships as well as the track and field championships.
- The new advancement rules allowed for more competitive Meet of Champions meets and heats while still allowing top performers from each Group to advance.
- The Indoor Meet of Champions moving to the state of the art Ocean Breeze facility in Staten Island in 2020.
- If not for COVID restrictions cancelling the move, today's outdoor Meet of Champions would have been at Rutgers University.
BILL BRUNO'S CAREER
After he graduated from CBA in 1971, Bruno went on to Glassboro State College, where he was captain of the track and field team.
In the spring of 1978, he became the sprint/hurdle coach at CBA under Hall of Fame coach Tom Heath.
In the Fall of 1978, Bruno landed a job at Manalapan High School where he taught and coached football and track.
Three years later, Bruno was back at CBA teaching and serving as the head track and field coach..
In 1986, Bruno took a job at Asbury Park where he taught and was an assistant track coach under Hall of Famer Tony Giordano.
In 1989, Bruno moved to Pinelands High School where he took a very average track and field program and built it into a power, and he also served as the head football coach for some of the best years Pineland has ever had.
In his 11 years at Pinelands, Bruno led the track and field team to nine straight winning seasons, captured 3 B South Titles, and had three undefeated season. And his 1991 football team went 7-2, the best record in school history.
Bruno finished his track and field coaching career in 2000 with a 110-29 record, 2 Parochial State titles, 6 Shore Conference Divisional titles, 3 Monmouth County championships, one Shore Conference title, one Ocean County indoor relay crown, 23 relay invitational victories, and six undefeated seasons.
Bruno was named State Coach of the Year by the Star-Ledger in 1983, and was chosen as the Coach of the Year by the Ocean County Observer twice and by the Asbury Park Press once.
After his coaching career concluded, Bruno served as the Athletic Director at Brick Memorial, Marlboro and Howell High School, but he's always remained active in track and field.
Bruno served on the Shore Track Coaches Association Executive Board, was a cadet instructor for the Shore Chapter of Track and Field Officials, was co-founder and meet director of the Wildcat Relays, and he was the co-founder of the Rebel Relays.
Bruno has received several honors for his years of dedication and commitment to track and field.
In 2005, Bruno received the Hank Nonnenberg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Shore Track Coaches Association.
In 2018, he was inducted into the CBA Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Directors of Athletics Association NJ Hall of Fame.
Since 2015 he's been the Assistant Director of the NJSIAA in charge of the cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field state championships.