Canova keeps readers informed about GMC sports

By JIMMY ALLINDER Correspondent

 J.P. Stevens High School golf coach John Canova has constructed websites that provide results not only from Greater Middlesex Conference golf matches, but other sports as well. J.P. Stevens High School golf coach John Canova has constructed websites that provide results not only from Greater Middlesex Conference golf matches, but other sports as well. I t is 9 p.m. after a long day of teaching science to students at J.P. Stevens High School, and John Canova is at home wading through a pile of tests that need to be graded.

Once he completes this assignment, Canova opens his laptop and shifts his energy to another task. Canova, who is the boys golf coach at J.P. Stevens, begins another time-consuming job of updating websites he constructed that provide match results, league standings and other statistics — not only for golf, but for other sports as well. These sites are not only intended to be viewed by those interested in Hawks athletics, but by anybody who follows one or all of the 33 member schools in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC).

During this recent spring day, Canova concentrates on updating sites that feature boys and girls golf, baseball, softball and boys volleyball. His routine varies from day to day, but the goal is the same — keep readers informed by giving them a wideangle snapshot of anything and everything that is going on with their school’s sports. Canova attacks this chore tirelessly during all three seasons of sports. Canova sometimes relies on local media reports for scores of regular and postseason tournament games; however, since budgets have curtailed coverage of many sports, he often emails other GMC coaches and athletic directors for updates involving their teams. He then corrals this information and enters it regularly on each website.

During the fall, Canova follows the GMC’s boys and girls soccer teams, and this year, he started a site that focuses on girls volleyball. He believes his self-appointed “hobby” provides a valuable service to readers.

“From the feedback I have received, these sites have become a regular source for parents to see their child’s name and achievements and get timely results of games and matches,” he said. “Coaches check the sites for up-to-date standings, statistics and game schedules, while [athletic directors] can monitor their schools’ results and compare them with other schools.”

It is no wonder his websites have “taken off.” With the printed media limiting some of its coverage of sports, oftentimes the less popular ones don’t get the attention of, say, football or basketball.

“Since I started the websites, I’ve been told the websites have been shared across the high school sports community,” he said. “I’ve received emails from coaches, parents and athletic directors thanking me for providing them comprehensive information all on one site.”

Canova said he became interested in keeping track of the less popular sports when he was a student-athlete at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in the late 1980s.

“I always enjoyed collecting the results of all the area bowling and golf teams — sports in which I participated,” he said. “The papers did a good job of posting box scores, but there was no tabulation of standings and team records.”

Canova continues to keep tabs not only on the conference division standings, but also postseason honors, such as all-division and all-GMC teams. He has also kept tabs on historical records and past champions. The results are a comprehensive list of websites that provide readers with a resource that answers just about any question they might have about a game result and more.

Canova insists his occupation with administering his websites will always be a hobby and considers his teaching job and coaching golf, especially during the spring, to be what’s most important to him. Still, Canova is pleased by the fact that athletes, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have come to rely on his websites as valuable sources of information.

“There are five [websites] now,” Canova said. “I take pride in the fact that there have been nearly 100,000 hits. That tells me people are accessing the information.”

In 2006, during the GMC boys soccer finals, recently retired East Brunswick High School athletic director Frank Noppenberger presented Canova with an award recognizing his work in the media through his website and how it has helped with soccer’s popularity.

Canova’s effort to promote golf has not gone unnoticed by his peers either.

“John continues to amaze me with his enthusiasm and unwavering desire to keep the GMC golfers out in front when it comes to coverage,” East Brunswick boys golf coach Bo Henning said. “He is there for every coach and every golfer, regardless of school affiliation, and has picked up when the media has had to deal with budget cuts.”

“I fully understand my job as a teacher comes first, and that will always continue to be my top priority,” Canova said. “I consider [the websites] as an extracurricular activity I work on in my spare time. I convey to my students and players that school comes first, and that will always be the case.”