Montclair Kimberley softball head coach Sarfati gets her just due with 100th victory
Call it an 11-month replay for a celebration of the 100-victory mark.
In a second look at the statistics, it was determined that Montclair Kimberley softball head coach Jessica Sarfati, a Montclair native, had hit the century mark of varsity victories in May 2022.
High school sports statistics are not the most reliable, and that includes career victories for head coaches.
Montclair Kimberley’s statistics are probably one of the most reliable, and the school is one of the few high schools today that have head coaches who remain for an extended period of time.
The school recently celebrated two longtime head coaches who reached career milestones. This spring head baseball coach Ralph Pacifico won his 500th game, while head boys basketball coach Tony Jones collected his 300th victory in the last week of the winter season.
For Sarfati, whether the marker came last season or this, she is just happy to reach it, which happened with a 3-1 victory over West Caldwell Tech on May 23, 2022.
"It's very exciting, and also just makes you think back to so many players and coaches from the past who influenced me as a coach," she said. This is her 13th season as head coach.
Sarfati grew up in Montclair and played for that other school, Montclair High School, on the other side of town.
"Having grown up in Montclair playing for Montclair High School it means a lot that I found a coaching career in Montclair," she said. "I never knew back then that I would wind up at MKA doing this for so many years to even reach 100 wins, and I just feel so lucky to head up this program."
Sarfati gives plenty of credit to her “right hand man,” assistant coach Donna Bruno. "I am really fortunate to work with such amazing assistant coaches throughout the years, especially Donna Bruno, who has been with me through my entire time here at MKA," she said.
Another of those assistant coaches was Andrea Piela, who this year took over the head coaching softball job at Wallington High School in Bergen County.
"I was so excited to hear about Jess' 100th win," Piela said. "I sent her a text message that night to congratulate her. As I start my head coaching career this year, I strive to emulate much of what I have learned from Jess Sarfati — and Donna Bruno, her longtime assistant coach. Congratulations again to coach Sarf."
Piela played for Montclair Kimberley and against Sarfati when she was on the field at Montclair High School.
"In 2013, Jess asked me to be an assistant coach at MKA,” Piela said. “That was my first high school coaching experience, and it was a fun and memorable one. I'm so grateful for that first coaching gig."
Montclair Kimberley and Wallington faced each other this season, a game won by Piela and Wallington, 12-2, but it was more about the two coaches.
"We were able to set up a varsity game this season between our teams, and I loved being able to tell my team and the officials that Jess and I crossed paths again in the softball world, and that my career has come full circle."
This season the Montclair Kimberley softball team was 5-3 at the end of last week after a two-game winning streak. Sarfati and the Cougars are looking to top last season's mark of 11 victories.