Meet The Coaches
Jim Gilligan enters his second year with the Vipers and his first year as a Head Coach. We started preparing Jim for this role last year as his daughter played with us as a 9 year old. Jim has seamlessly stepped in as a Head Coach and is doing an amazing job.
Jim is a leader in the Dumont softball program and travel teams, so his competitive and teaching styles blend in perfectly with the Vipers.
He fully understands the level, our philosophy and program...the kids & parents adore him.
Jim is assisted by Coach Dino Eliopoulos, Coach Dino is a professional High School Coach who has won league championships and competed deep into state tournaments with Midland Park High School. Our girls and we are so fortunate to have him
We look forward to having this tandem for years to come.
Mike enters his third year with the NJ Vipers and second as a Head Coach. He is a graduate of Morris Hills HS and Rutgers College in New Brunswick. Mike played 3 sports in HS where he won multiple conference, county and state titles and competed at the D1 level at Rutgers as a member of the Track & Field team. We love the fire and competitive spirit he brings to our program.
Mike has two daughters in the program (Annie and Mary) and has become an integral part of our leadership group. Mike was an assistant coach for our 10U team in 2017/18, learning the level, club circuit & Viper Way, took the reigns in 2018/19 and continues in 2019/20. We could not be happier to have Coach Mike with us and part of head coaching ensemble for this year.
Mike is assisted by Brian Flood and Keri Donfrio.
Laura Germano is a graduate of Park Ridge HS and Ramapo College and begins her 3rd year with this group of girls. Coach Laura started/played 3 HS sports and is a member of the 50+ goal club in soccer, 1,000 point club in basketball and an All-County shortstop in softball. Laura started and played shortstop for 4 years at Ramapo College and earned All-NCAA Tournament honors (was also recruited to play on the basketball team). She is a member of the Park Ridge Hall of Fame.
Best athlete in her family by far except for hitting, where she ranks 2nd.
Laura has coached volleyball, basketball and softball at Park Ridge HS, was an asst. softball coach at Dominican College and is a certified cross trainer instructor. She is the Frosh Volleyball & Varsity Softball Coach for Cresskill HS. Laura coached our 14U Lime Fall Team in 2015, and our 10U team in 2017/18.
Laura is assisted by Mark Plescia. Mark runs the Norwood Softball Program and his contributions to the Vipers are immeasurable.
Our Head Coaches for our 14U Black team are Steve Olshalsky and Scott Babino. While some programs do not permit "Dads" to coach or fear "Daddy Ball", not only do we not fear it...we have. in our view, two of the better coaches in the club level with this group.
Steve is a leader in the Ramsey Softball Organization and played baseball at WPU. Scott is a leader in the Oakland Softball Organization and has watched the Oakland/ Indian Hills development programs for years, while helping run the rec and travel programs Both enter their third season with the NJ Vipers.
Both are gifted communicators and examples for these girls. They were assistant coaches in 2017/18, Associate Head Coaches in 2018/19 and are now Head Coaches in 2019/20.
Sheila Goulding- Serafin played college softball and basketball at St. Thomas Aquinas College. In softball she was both an infielder and outfielder and has a great feel and vision of the game. She has over a decade coaching youth rec, Bergen County Travel and High School (Cresskill) teams.
A long time friend of the Vipers and many of our founding players, we have known Sheila from "across the dugouts" for many years and have always admired and respected the way she coaches her teams, treats her players and respects the game. We are very lucky to have her. She is in her second season with our 2005 Vipers.
A professional elementary school teacher, she brings a delivery and understanding of what it takes to work with kids turning into young adults. Her focus is on preparing the girls to compete at the next level - focusing primarily on the mental aspects of the game and and the fundamental skills needed.
Stay tuned here for information on our 16U Coaches. Non Parents and a lot of club and colle experience.
Bob Germano & Jerry Mercadante.
2019/20 started a new era for the NJ Vipers. Coaches Bob & Jerry ran separate teams for many years in the Vipers organization. In 2018/19 due to HS Sports, commitment and other factors, the organization made a decision it wrestled with for many years: to go all in on a team who can compete effectively in high level and Gold level 18U tournaments on a regional and national level.
2019/20 invited ALL 2018/19 players back to participate...those who chose to return, along with our new players are being afforded our best training, best access to facilities and more resources and informatiuon than we were ever able to make available in past seasons. There are more tournaments & more indoor events than ever before. We play among the most competitive regional and national schedules for programs with our model.
Coaches Bob & Jerry run the entire 16 & 18U levels. They get to know every player and family and speak with all on customized training, goals and future plans.
They are assisted by Coach Josh Lont, who led the Wyckoff Softball Program for 6 years and led the Ramapo HS team to a 2019 League Champinship and a #1 seed in the State Tournament.
Coach Brown is in his 6th year with the NJ Vipers and was the Head Coach for our Legends/ 18U Combined effort in the Fall of 2019 where he did an amazing job. Our retention rate with his group illustrates the job he had done (and continues to do) as we will be carrying many of his same players forward. Coach Brown has been instrumental in our growth as an organization. Another positive is that he also provides a great perspective in next level advancement to college softball as his daughter Allison (who has been an assistant coach for us) was recruited and played 4 years of D1 softball.