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Delbarton Celebrates the Legacy of Dan Whalen
Jared Lowy

On January 13, amidst the spirited cheers and palpable excitement in Abbot Clarke Gym, Delbarton School took a momentous pause to honor a man whose dedication and leadership have left an indelible mark on the institution's athletic history. The halftime of the thrilling 50-49 victory over Oratory Prep became a stage for the recognition of former Athletic Director and Basketball Coach Dan Whalen.

Dan Whalen's remarkable 39-year journey as a coach and teacher at Delbarton commenced in 1985, and since then, he has become a symbol of excellence and inspiration within the Delbarton community. The gymnasium, filled with a sea of supporters, former players and enthusiastic students, witnessed a heartwarming celebration of a man who has contributed immensely to the school's athletic prowess.

The honor extended to Dan was not merely a personal accolade but a recognition of his outstanding achievements. Starting as the Delbarton varsity basketball coach in 1991, Whalen's coaching prowess shone through as he amassed an impressive 527 wins, securing the second-highest number of victories in the state of New Jersey during his tenure.

Basketball enthusiasts would remember Whalen as the coach who led the team to six Morris County titles, showcasing his leadership on the court. Whalen was also honored as the 2023 Morris County Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Association Athletic Director of the Year. As the golf coach, he clinched two Tournament of Champions titles in 13 years and earned the Coach of the Year award four times.

In a touching moment during the ceremony, Dan Whalen's family, including his mother Lenore, daughter Michele and her husband Derrick Grant, son Daniel, sister Maureen, and grandson Wylder, stood proudly by his side. Their presence added a personal touch to the occasion, emphasizing the profound impact Whalen has had not just on the Delbarton community but on his own family as well.

Tony Negrin, the current Athletic Director, expressed gratitude, saying, "Dan, thank you for being a model of success and leadership for all of us in the Delbarton community over the years. You have pushed all of us to always strive for success, and that is the reason why the Delbarton Athletic Department is considered one of the best in the country."

Dan Whalen's legacy extends beyond the courts and fields. He played a pivotal role in the planning and construction of Pizzo Family Field House, where he now manages the facility. To immortalize his contributions, a banner was presented to Whalen, which will find a permanent home in the Abbot Brian Clarke Gymnasium, a symbol of appreciation for his unwavering dedication to the Delbarton basketball program.

As the halftime ceremony concluded, the cheers and applause echoed not just through the gym but through the campus of Delbarton School, where Dan Whalen's legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.