Brian Dunn, Old Tappan girls hoops coach, reaches 400 win mark by Darren Cooper of The Record
OLD TAPPAN – NV/Old Tappan coach Brian Dunn knows his football, basketball, and apparently kitschy movie quotes from the 1980s.
Dunn, 48, earned the 400th win of his girls basketball career with the Golden Knights 61-40 victory Tuesday afternoon against Paramus Catholic.
His team presented him with handmade signs after the final buzzer. Included on one sign put together by the Golden Knights was the “Nobody puts Baby in a corner line,” from the movie Dirty Dancing.
“We always had one kid standing off in the corner in practice,” smiled Dunn. “Only one kid knew the line. I thought girls would get that quote….once I explained it to them, they all liked it.”
It’s hard to find someone more liked in North Jersey or more respected than Dunn. He is among the few coaches left who guide multiple varsity programs, and he has done so successfully.
Dunn has won 130 games as the Golden Knights football coach and two of the last three sectional titles. He also guided the girls basketball program to the Group 3 state title in 2016. He joked that he could add a few golf wins on his resume too.
But he has never one for self-promotion. He joked that compared to his friend Pascack Valley coach Jeff Jasper and his 1,000 wins and counting, he’s only in his ‘rookie year.’
“This is 21 years I have been doing this,” said Dunn. “When you compare it to that drawing it out over that many years, it’s a different planet that he’s on.”
Dunn was genuinely surprised at the fanfare at the end of the game.
“In the beginning of the year when you fill out the [media] preseason forms I just added up our wins from last year and said, oh, if we have a good year I could be close [to 400],” said Dunn. “Katie said something about our record and I said, how many do we have? And I said, ‘am I getting close?’ She said not really.”
Katie, a senior for the Golden Knights, confirmed her fathers’ story.
“He did not know,” she laughed. “He asked me a couple of days ago when he was getting it but I lied to him and told him next year. He actually believed it.”
Brian said that it’s been enlightening to coach both boys and girls. He doesn’t change his style for either, and Katie said that he’s definitely tough.
“He makes us do it right and we know when we’re not playing good that he’s going to tell us,” she said. “He just wants the best for us. He is tough in that way.”
The Golden Knights (21-4) got a game-high 23 points from Noelle Gonzalez, but didn’t really take control of the game until the second half against a quick Paramus Catholic five. NV/Old Tappan led 27-25 at halftime and opened the half with a 7-0 run keyed by a three by Erin Harnisch. The lead grew from there.
“Second half, we played defense very well,” said Dunn. “I thought we played good offensively the whole way. I thought we passed really well. They were getting to the basket too easy a few times — they have some kids who can play — and we didn’t rotate a lot on the weakside and we are usually pretty good at that. Our kids did well. They are tough kids. They are competitors and they work hard all the time.”