Glen Rock native Alonso Escalante, 35, transitions from coaching in the NFL to being appointed as the new head football coach at Tenafly High School. The Board of Education approved his appointment on Monday night.
“We will turn into a winning program by taking it one day at a time,” said Escalante. “It’s all about building a community and a culture. I have to start there. Culture is what you do every day. I am excited about it.”
The Escalante File
After graduating from Glen Rock High School in 2005, Escalante intended to wrestle and play football at Springfield College in Massachusetts. However, a back injury led him to become a student assistant coach, marking the beginning of his coaching career. Escalante earned his master’s degree from McDaniel College while working as an assistant there.
Selected for the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship in the NFL, Escalante had a two-week internship with the Giants, which paved the way for assistant coaching roles with the Oakland Raiders (2011) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-2013). He later worked at his alma mater and at Fair Lawn.
Back to the Pros
In 2016, Escalante returned to the NFL as an offensive assistant with the New York Giants. He also spent time on staff with the Arizona Cardinals (2018) and Cleveland Browns (2019). After working as an analyst at the University of Missouri in 2021, Escalante became an assistant running backs coach for the Carolina Panthers under Matt Rhule.
Eager to settle back in North Jersey, Escalante joined DePaul’s staff under Nick Campanile and contributed to their Non-Public B state championship victory in 2022. When the Tenafly job opened, he found it to be the perfect fit.
“The reason I got into coaching is to use football to make people’s lives better and I mean that in all sincerity,” said Escalante. “That has been my driving force at every level, whether it’s high school or college and that’s what I am going to do here. New Jersey is home to me. High school football is near and dear to me.”
Taking Over in Tenafly
Tenafly High School’s football program has faced challenges, with a high enrollment but few players. The Tigers went 3-6 in 2022 in the Super Football Conference American Red Division. In the Ivy Red and Ivy White divisions, they scored 6-4 and 8-0 records, respectively.
Escalante is already reviewing Tenafly film and building his staff as he prepares to become a PE teacher at the school.
“This is a special group,” said Escalante. “We are very excited about getting started working with them. When you take over a program, it all starts with the people and the players. I want to provide them with the best opportunity to be successful on the field and off. The best programs I have been a part of, the players have had just as much success off the field as on. That’s what we will be building here.”