Cardy Gemma

Coach Cardy Gemma

Cardy Gemma was Glen Rock High School’s most successful basketball coach and one of its most outstanding teachers.

Cardy Gemma joined the Glen Rock High School faculty as a Social Studies teacher and Head Basketball Coach in September 1958, the first year that the school had graduating seniors. In his first season, the 1958-59 team advanced to the Group 2, Sectional Quarterfinals. Two years later, the 1960-61 team had one of the school’s most successful seasons, finishing with a 23-2 record, winning the North Jersey Conference championship and being named mythical Bergen County Champions (by The Bergen Record) before being upset by Dumont in the Group 2, Sectional Championship game.

Under Cardy’s direction and guidance, Glen Rock would continue to be a basketball powerhouse for the next 15 years. The 1964-65 team were NBIL Co-Champions and were again named mythical Bergen County Champions (by The Bergen Record ) after defeating Englewood High School in the Group 3, State Sectional Semifinal before losing to Lincoln (Jersey City) in the Group 3, Sectional Championship game. The 1967-68 team were NBIL, Eastern Division Tri-Champions and the 1968-69 team were NBIL, Eastern Division Champions. In the 1970s, Glen Rock won the B-PSL Championship for three consecutive years, from the 1970-1971 season through the 1972-73 season. The 1971-72 team won the Group 2, State Sectional Championship before losing to the ultimate State Champion Vailsburg (Newark) in the Group 2, North Jersey Championship. That team has been recognized as the most outstanding basketball team in Glen Rock High School’s history and was inducted into the Glen Rock High School Hall of Fame in 2012. The 1972-73 team nearly duplicated the success of the preceding year’s team but lost to Lincoln (Jersey City) in the Group 2, State Sectional Semifinal.

Cardy was named Coach of the Year by The Ridgewood Herald-News after the 1960-61 season (shared), after the 1971-72 season and after the 1972-73 season. He was also named Coach of the Year for the Passaic & Bergen Counties by The NY Daily News after the 1964-65 season. He was inducted into the New Jersey Coaches Hall of Fame in 1978.

Cardy retired as Head Basketball Coach after the 1974-75 season. His seventeen-year tenure still stands as the most successful era for boys basketball in the school’s history.

During his years at Glen Rock High School, Cardy also coached the junior varsity baseball team and the girls varsity basketball  team.

Cardy continued to teach Social Studies at Glen Rock High School until his retirement in 1987, including teaching his innovative World Problems course that required extensive and lively student participation and was an all-time favorite of thousands of Glen Rock High School graduates. During his nearly 30 years teaching at Glen Rock, he also served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department and as Dean of Students.

Cardy was an outstanding member of the Glen Rock community, including being an active member of the Youth Recreation Program, serving as Chairman of the Glen Rock Human Relations Council and being a key member of the Glen Rock High School 50th Anniversary Committee.

After retiring from Glen Rock, Cardy was the Head Basketball Coach and Athletic

Director at Centenary University. He led Centenary basketball to an outstanding winning record and established many other winning athletic teams for Centenary. The school now gives the Cardy Gemma Award each year to graduating seniors for outstanding athletic achievement, attitude and leadership. He retired from Centenary in 1994 and was inducted into the Centenary University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Cardy was a high school basketball and baseball star in Paterson, N.J. In his senior year at St. John’s High School in Paterson, he led his team to the Catholic Conference championship and was named Paterson’s outstanding high school basketball player. He was also named to the First Team, All-Passaic County. At Muhlenberg College, he started at point guard for four years, led the team in scoring and was named captain for three of those years. He was also a member of the college’s baseball team. After graduating, he played one season in the Eastern Professional Basketball League before launching his teaching and coaching career.

Cardy passed away in 2008 and was inducted posthumously into the Glen Rock High School Hall of Fame in the organization’s 2008 inaugural year.