Part of having a storied high school football tradition is having former players express continued pride in their alma mater in the years following their playing days.
Long Branch High School has such a following, as illustrated by the illustrious names associated with the Green Wave over the years, and the long list of players still giving back to the program through the Green Wave Football Association.
Jim Quirk is one such person. A National Football League umpire since 1988, Quirk looks back on his beginnings at Long Branch with reverence, and remains thankful for the experiences he had as a member of the Green Wave’s program.
After graduating in 1963, Quirk served a two-year stint at Fort Monroe, Va., as a first lieutenant in the Continental Army Command Headquarters Honor Guard Company, while attending George Washington University in the evening to earn a master’s degree in personnel administration. After the service, Quirk returned to Long Branch and married his high school sweetheart, Carol Christopher, another Long Branch graduate, who later returned to the high school to teach. Quirk began a successful Wall Street career in government securities, dealing with foreign banks, a profession that took him all over the world for a span of 32 years.
While working in New York City, Quirk’s passion for football led to his officiating high school football games, which spawned his ultimate goal of officiating in the NFL. Whole working high school games on Saturdays, he also worked on the chain crew at the Meadowlands on Sundays for the New York Giants home games. Later, upon the death of mentor Milt Applegate, Quirk became the official clock operator at the Meadowlands. Managing to juggle a high-powered career with his passion for football, Quirk next became a Division I college official, working in the Eastern College Athletics Conference.
In 1988, after 11 years at the college level as an umpire, Quirk was admitted into the NFL as a line judge. A change of position and variation between the college and professional rules meant there was much to learn, and Quirk had to endure both written and physical tests, meetings, an extensive background investigation, and a one-year contract, renewable based on performance.
In 1998, Quirk earned the ultimate recognition by being selected to work Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, Calif., between the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos. Coincidentally, the general manager of the Broncos at the time was John Beake, a 1957 graduate of Long Branch High School.
Retired from Wall Street since 1997, Quirk continues to work in the NFL. He and his wife now reside in Rumson and have three grown children. And despite the remarkable success he has enjoyed since leaving Long Branch, he remains true to his high school. He gives back to the community that helped mold his future by remaining active within the Green Wave Football Association. There, he is just one of many former Long Branch greats who still appreciate what the Green Wave’s thriving program does for its players.
For more information on the Green Wave Football Association, which meets the first Tuesday of every month at the IAMA building from 7-9 p.m., contact Bob Ippolito at (732) 531-8630.