Iona coach Fernando Barbato takes over NJIT program


After 13 years at Iona, Fernando Barbato has accepted a new challenge, moving closer to home to take over an NJIT program that has had only one winning season in its Division 1 era. 

Barbato turned the Gaels into a perennial top contender in the Metro Athletic Conference during his time there, leading them to double-digit win totals in five of the last eight seasons and molding three future MLS players Franklin Castellanos (New York Red Bulls), Ignacio Maganto (LA Galaxy) and Victor Munoz (Sporting Kansas City).

He’ll have his work cut out for him at NJIT, which has had only one winning season (2012) since transitioning from NAIA to Division 1 in 2004.

A Montclair State alumnus who played for the now defunct North Jersey Imperials of the USL for six seasons, Barbato started his coaching career in New Jersey at his alma mater and lives in Cresskill.

Barbato will replace Didier Orellana, who resigned in December after three seasons as head coach and two as an assistant.

In addition to a new coach, NJIT will also be playing in a new conference this fall. The Highlanders will be in the Atlantic Sun Conference after competing in the as an associate member of the Sun Belt Conference for the last two seasons.

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