Russ Raffay, West Morris Mendham Soccer Coach
Russ Raffay’s head boys soccer coaching tenure at Mendham began in 2012 after being an assistant coach to Tim Rymer. During Russ’s time at Mendham he has accumulated a 110-88-11 record with two Group 3 state championships in 2015 and 2017 and three North Jersey Group 3 Section 2 championships in 2012, 2015 and 2017.
Russ’s 2012 Section championship was truly amazing. At first left out of the tournament as the 17th seed, the 16th seed decided to back out and allowed Mendham to enter the tournament with a 4-10-2 record. That team proceeded to win the sectional championship by defeating top-seeded Gov. Livingston in the first round, eighth-seeded Plainfield in the quarterfinals, 12th-seeded Morristown in the semifinals, capping it off with a 2-1 final win over 3rd seed Parsippany Hills.
Russ’s motto is “the season is a marathon and not a sprint.” He adhered to the idea that it’s better to finish strong than start strong and fizzle out.
Always remembering what’s important as an educator, he kept all he did in perspective. He always put the student before the athlete.
Russ came to Mendham from Belvidere, where he was named Warren County Teacher of the year. Russ will continue as a History Teacher at Mendham High School and a valued member of the faculty. He lives in Byram, NJ with his wife and 4 children.