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Three-sport Middle coach to take over Avalon Beach Patrol


This summer will be Matt Wolf’s 24th as a lifeguard for the Avalon Beach Patrol.

For the first time, he won’t be working under his father. Instead, he’s now the man in charge.

Wolf, a health and physical education teacher and coach in three sports at Middle Township High School, has been named the new chief of the Avalon Beach Patrol. He replaces his father, Murray, who retired at the close of the 2020 calendar year after serving as chief since 1967. Murray first joined the Avalon Beach Patrol in 1955.

Lifeguarding in Avalon has been a family affair for the Wolfs. Matt’s younger brothers, Erich and Tyler, have also been longtime lifeguards in the borough. Both are currently lieutenants.

“The whole thing is bittersweet in a lot of ways,” Matt Wolf said. “I’ve been working for my dad since I was 14 years old. That has its challenges but on the whole I’ve been blessed to be able to do that with my dad and my brothers for as long as I have. There’s a part of me that’s sad that’s ending. But it does mean a lot to me to be taking that spot. I think my dad’s pretty excited about that as well.”

Matt Wolf is the head wrestling coach at Middle Township. He has also been an assistant coach with the football and track programs. He already expects to take a reduced role in football, where he had served as offensive coordinator for the past few seasons.


“I’ll try to be involved because I love football and I love the kids but I’ve already informed (athletic director) Dr. (Sharon) Rementer and (head coach) Frank Riggitano that my role will have to be greatly diminished,” Matt Wolf said. “That’ll be up to them to determine if I can continue in a role that I’ll be able to fulfill. But they’ve both been very supportive to this point and I appreciate that.

“My first priority has to be the beach. And then the second thing, it’s not fair to the kids if I’m half hearted about it. So I certainly won’t be offensive coordinator anymore. How much of a role I’ll have is to be determined.”

Matt Wolf said he plans to continue coaching wrestling and hopes to continue coaching track in some capacity.

As for his new role as the top administrator of the Avalon Beach Patrol, Matt Wolf said the challenges of the position won’t change now that he’s in charge.

“The challenges are what they always are – the surf and the ocean,” he said. “You have people coming here in the summertime who are not familiar with the ocean. I don’t think that changes no matter who is responsible. Ultimately, I’m responsible for those people’s safety during our working hours. Our first objective – and my dad made sure every lifeguard in Avalon understood this – is definitely for us to make sure nobody drowns and everyone stays safe. That’s our primary objective.”

Matt Wolf, 37, started with the Avalon Beach Patrol in 1998. He became a lieutenant in 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College and a master’s degree in school leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Matt Wolf will oversee a patrol that includes approximately 110 lifeguards and 50 beach tag employees.

The Borough of Avalon also announced that Lieutenant Ryan Black has been promoted to serve as captain and second in command of the beach patrol under Matt Wolf.

“The Borough must recognize the extraordinary career of Murray Wolf who has served on the Avalon beaches for six decades,” Avalon Mayor Marty Pagliughi said in a statement. “Simply put, there’s only one Murray Wolf and Avalon was extremely fortunate to have him as an important part of our public safety team. Murray should not only be proud of the lives that were saved on the Avalon beach for several decades, but also of the legacy of the Beach Patrol that now transitions to his son, Matt, and to Ryan. The torch has been passed to two very capable and bright young men whom I am honored are a part of the Avalon family.”