Legend of Long Branch

Jersey Shore native Danny George has deep roots in local athletics and our sandy dunes

Even after retiring as a revered football and wrestling coach, Danny George doesn’t get to enjoy a relaxing off-season. His responsibilities as beach manager for the city of Long Branch keep him occupied year-round, well after the throngs of sun worshippers head home after Labor Day. We spoke to Danny recently about his coaching career, his family’s strong ties to Long Branch sports and sand, and his ongoing commitment to the community he loves.

LBCL: You were a coach for 30 years. Was that the career you planned on?

DG: I actually majored in accounting [at Ohio State] and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for two years after I graduated. But I really just missed being involved in athletics so I came down and started coaching part-time at Red Bank Regional. My brother was a coach there and I went to help him out and fell in love with it. Other than those two years in the City, my whole life until that point had been getting up, going to school and going to practice. There was no adrenaline in office work, and I missed that.

LBCL: Who inspired you the most as a coach?

DG: My father. He was a college football player, got an education degree, taught for a couple years, then went into the business world—the opposite path that I took. But he knew the draw that sports had, and he supported me and my older brother when we chose to do what we loved and were passionate about. He might have known I was destined to be a coach before I was. He always had that fire, that passion for sports that never left, which we all admired. All five of us kids in the family, we all played sports—the boys did football and wrestling, and my sister swam and played soccer. 

LBCL: What’s the most challenging part of running the Long Branch beaches?

DG: You might expect the answer to be the weather, but we don’t control the weather, so I can’t worry about that. The biggest challenge is that there are just a lot of pieces that need to come together every day. Managing the workforce, hiring, training—especially in this business—can be tough. Sometimes they’ll just work for a year, but others come back for four or five years, and some people keep coming back because it becomes a solid second job. In terms of keeping the beaches safe and clean, the support of the mayor and council is phenomenal.

LBCL: And on the flipside—what's been rewarding about the job? 

DG: We’re blessed to have attracted and retained a really solid group of lifeguards, starting with our junior lifeguard program. And a lot of the kids I coached would work for me in the summer at the beach. It was great because it kind of kept everyone’s eyes on each other and became another way we could take care of each other. 

LBCL: What makes Long Branch beaches so special?

DG: We’re one of the longest—if not the longest—public beach in New Jersey, with almost four miles of beach and 23 lifeguard stands over that stretch. The Pier Village area is one of the great local destinations in the state, but we also have areas with a really welcoming, local feel. Our beach fees are among the cheapest, too, which is great because so many different people from all over get to share that experience. 

We’re one of the longest—if not the longest—public beach in New Jersey, with almost four miles of beach and 23 lifeguard stands over that stretch.

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