BOGOTA, N.J. — The third-winningest coach in Bergen County boys basketball history says he doesn't much care for basketball games.
Bogota High School Varsity Basketball Coach Jay Mahoney would rather be in practice.
"I’m not a big X’s and O’s guy," said Mahoney, who notched his 600th career win on February 2 in a 42-40 victory over Waldwick. "I just love the camaraderie and getting to interact with the kids on a daily basis."
The Weehawken native played college basketball at Bergen County Community College and later at Division 3 Thomas College in Maine.
When he was 23, Bogota High School offered him a job as a business education teacher. A year later, he assumed the role of head basketball coach.
"This has all been beyond my wildest dreams," said Mahoney, who also coaches the track and field team at Bogota High School. "For the town to celebrate me and the team after the 600th win has been really special and overwhelming in a good way."
Mahoney attributes his success to his workhorse, no-frills approach to the game.
"I'm a blue collar guy and Bogota is a small town full of hard-working families and kids," Mahoney, 61, told Daily Voice. "Together we are a hard-working, in your-face type of team."
Mahoney led the Group 1 Bogota Buccaneers to a state championship and two Bergen County Jamboree crowns during Mahoney's 37-year tenure.
With 602 wins, Mahoney is only 46 shy of tying Bergen Catholic coaching legend Chris Donfield with 648 wins. Next up would be Bergenfield coaching great Marty Rivard, who has amassed more than 760 wins in 42 years on the sidelines.
Mahoney won't turn 62 until September, and has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
"The town of Bogota and the school system has been so supportive of me I don’t even think about retiring from teaching or coaching," said Mahoney, whose son, Kyle, and daughter, Brianne, are also pursuing careers in coaching
"My mind is still on basketball 12 months of the year," he said.