4In the fall of 1979, the average price of gas was 85 cents per gallon. The average home cost roughly $58,000. Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album dominated the charts. This also was when Tony Barchuk, a Brooklyn native, arrived on the scene at tiny Kingsway Regional High School. Things certainly have changed culturally. Kingsway has changed as well, and Barchuk has been an instrumental part of that change.
The evening of Nov. 14 was a clear indicator of that. Kingsway, now a large Group 4 school, was competing against an even larger Clearview for a spot in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals. With its 15-12 victory over their rival, Barchuk was able to attain an incredible milestone, as the now long-time head football coach won his 200th win in dramatic fashion.
Having started his football coaching career after his collegiate days at North Carolina State, Barchuk has become one of the staples of South Jersey football. His 2001 team won a South Jersey championship. His teams have won many division titles throughout the years. He has coached in more games than almost every coach in South Jersey history and has won more games than most as well.
He got the opportunity to coach his son Basil in the late 80’s-early 90’s. He even was honored by the Philadelphia Eagles at one of their games for his contributions to high school football.
So how has he lasted so long and been so successful during that time?
“It’s incredible that he has been around this long,” said senior fullback Anthony Incollingo. “I’m so honored to be a part of this win. He’s such a big part of Kingsway.”
“Tony loves football, but even more than that, he loves and bleeds Kingsway,” said fellow Kingsway staple and long-time girls basketball coach, Karyn Pickard. “He is a natural, positive motivator who expects and draws the best out of everyone around him. He is a humble man and an inspiration to us all.”
“He cares about everyone at Kingsway, whether they play football or not,” Pickard continued. “Everyone gets his time, even though he has sacrificed so much of himself in the process.”
“I am a lucky man to have been able to serve this community,” said Barchuk. “Kingsway people are top-notch. It is an honor and my responsibility to serve these people. It is what has kept me doing this as long as it has, and I still want to keep serving. There is no better feeling than seeing what a guy like (Kingsway alumnus and long-time track coach) Mel Carter has become. I truly am blessed. I love my community.”
Barchuk’s 200th win was a personal milestone certainly. It also was a celebration of a community’s success in an endeavor. More than that however, it was the byproduct of a commitment between a man and his people, the symbiotic relationship of a coach and community.
The hundreds of fellow teachers and staff members who he has mentored and supported can attest to that. The thousands of students who he has mentored and embraced can attest to that. The school and community that he has loved unselfishly also can attest to that.
While many things have changed in 36 years, this never has, and it does not appear that it ever will.