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Nielsen to step down at end of school year

William+VanKersen+%28left%29+sharing+an+embrace+with+longtime+head+coach+Craig+Nielsen.+Cusumano+was+named+Nielsen%27s+successor+on+Monday.+
William VanKersen (left) sharing an embrace with longtime head coach Craig Nielsen. Cusumano was named Nielsen's successor on Monday.

William VanKersen (left) sharing an embrace with longtime head coach Craig Nielsen. Cusumano was named Nielsen's successor on Monday.

Jake Aferiat

Jake Aferiat

William VanKersen (left) sharing an embrace with longtime head coach Craig Nielsen. Cusumano was named Nielsen's successor on Monday.

Jake Aferiat, Sports Writer

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After 15 seasons and 175 career wins, Pascack Valley’s head football coach Craig Nielsen announced in a meeting with his players Wednesday that the 2015 football season was his last, confirm sources who were players that wished not be identified due to the nature of the information. Sources also confirm that he gave no specific reason for his decision.

Nielsen, at the helm since 2001, is no stranger to success. PV has made the playoffs every season since 2004, including three straight North 1 Group 4 state sectional title appearance in 2012, 2013 and 2014, winning in 2013 and 2014, with the title in 2013 marking PV’s first since 1990.

His successful football career began at Bergenfield High School where Nielsen, then Bergenfield’s star running back, and was a member of the 1974 state sectional winning team. Nielsen went on to play for Rutgers University after high school. From there he held coaching jobs at Elmwood Park, Park Ridge, and Tenafly, before ultimately coming to Pascack Valley.

In addition to being head football coach, Nielsen has held the job of head softball coach both at PV and at Mahwah High School. He will retain the job of head softball coach at Mahwah.

The 2015-2016 school year marks Nielsen’s last year teaching as he is also retiring from his primary job at Pascack Valley as a physical education teacher.

He retires incredibly decorated, winning two state sectional titles, being named State Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association, and being inducted into the New Jersey State Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.

Nielsen was not in school yesterday afternoon or today, and could not be reached for comment.

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Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Nielsen to step down at end of school year