Last July I was at Toms River High School East for a 7-on-7 tournament that was part of the U.S. Army All-Shore Gridiron Classic which would be played later that week. 

Tim Osborn (Ocean County Signal)

High School football players in shorts and tee-shirts from just about all the Ocean County schools were running around various fields when my eyes fixated on this solitary figure walking onto the East football facility.  Actually he wasn’t walking but limping along with the help of crutches.

Tim Osborn looked like a man who had just been in a car crash which is exactly what happened to him a couple of weeks earlier.  I knew he had been seriously injured and was stunned to see him on this evening.  Osborn was wearing a neck brace and had cuts and bruises and was battered and in obvious discomfort.

However as General Manager of the Ocean County team the Jackson Liberty head coach he felt an obligation to show up plus when you’re a football junkie you sometimes just need your fix.  We chatted for about 10-15 minutes and as he described the one-car accident that left him dazed and unconscious on the side of the Garden State Parkway and we both came to the conclusion that it was a minor miracle that he survived.  Some might say it was just a case of his time not being up.

I thought about that Saturday morning when I received a text that Osborn had died suddenly while working out at a local gym.  How could he survive a horrific car crash only to die some nine months later doing what he had probably done a thousand times before?

Osborn was a retired New Jersey State Trooper and he always appeared in tip-top shape. I used to tease him about having that “trooper look” all the time.  For most of his career with the State Police he was able to also work as an assistant football coach, first at his alma mater Brick and later at Toms River North where he got to coach his sons Matt and Brad.

Timmy’s timing turned out to be perfect as he became the first head coach in Jackson Liberty history and with his retirement from the State Police had the time to assemble and build a program.  The Lions got better season by season and last year qualified for the state playoffs for the first time ever. We broadcast their game last November against Monsignor Donovan and Osborn was excited about the future.

Now at the age of 53 he has coached his last game and Wednesday family, friends, current and former players and fellow coaches will gather at Silverton Memorial Funeral Home to say their good-byes.  His family has lost a husband, father, brother and the Shore Conference has lost coach devoted to his players and dedicated to the sport.

I guess this time...his time was up.