Howard Finney, seen here as a young man, founded the Cobras youth football program that has seen many of its players go on to professional careers in the NFL. Finney died Dec. 30 at the age of 91. (COURTESY SUE LEFAVE)

Thanks for your wonderful remembrance of Coach Howard Finney. I played for the Cobras from 1976 to 1979, and on his “varsity” team around 1980.

I was a tall, scrawny kid with crazy hair and nary a glimmer of athletic talent. Coach Finney worked with me, and his admonition to “never quit” resonates with me today relative to my family, career and life.

Coach Finney was less a coach than a third parent. He yelled a tad more than Mom and Dad, but his messages were just as well-intended and meaningful. When he ran for Montclair’s Township Council, as a high-school student, I went door-to-door across Montclair handing out flyers for him, and otherwise talking him up to whoever answered their door.

I went on to play football in high-school and college, but Coach Finney’s lessons extended far beyond the gridiron.

Chris Wood

Washington, D.C.


Montclair Local’s Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.

Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email letters@montclairlocal.news, or mail “Letters to the Editor,” 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer’s name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.

Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week’s Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.

Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our “Town Square” banner. “Town Square” essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to letters@montclairlocal.news at least seven days prior to publication.

KEEP LOCAL JOURNALISM ALIVE: MontclairLocal.news is free, but it takes consistent financial support from a community that believes local journalism matters to make it and our weekly print paper possible. Your sustaining contribution of $10 per month (or more) makes you a member, and gets you our print edition. Visit MontclairLocal.news/donations for details and to become a member today.