Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Legendary Connecticut Boys Basketball Coach Vito Montelli on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

I spent 30 enjoyable minutes on the phone this morning settting-up this Sunday's interview with Vito Montelli, the 2011 National High School Coaches Association's Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year.

I say it was enjoyable, because I really like getting to know America's legendary coaches, who have spent the better part of their lives teaching young men and women.

Coach Montelli will be celebrating his 50th season on bench for the St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut.  Montelli is the only coach that the school has ever had.

Last season, Montelli led the Cadets to their 10th state championship with a 79-53 win over Fairfield Prep in the Class LL title game.  The LL championship gave St. Joseph the distinction of being the only Connecticut school to win state championships in all four classifications.

Montelli, who is the state's winningest coach with a record of 853-329, has taken his teams to 16 state championship games.

In my brief chat today, I quickly learned that Coach Montelli is more than a basketball coach.  He spoke about how important it is that his players excel both on-and-off the court.  He told me he still goes to school seven days a week, unless his wife tells him he has to do something else.

Montelli's career has led to his induction in the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005 and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Here's a look at St. Joseph's 16 state title games under Montelli, which include 10 championship appearances in a 13-year span from 1985 to 1997.

1975 - St. Joseph 64, St. Thomas Aquinas 63, Class S
1976 - Immaculate 72, St. Joseph 71, Class S
1977 - St. Joseph 89, St. Thomas Aquinas 63, Class S
1978 - Middletown 71, St. Joseph 57, Class M
1985 - Kolbe-Cathedral 55, St. Joseph 53 (3OT), Class M
1986 - St. Joseph 51, Weston 50 (OT), Class M
1987 - St. Joseph 72, Kolbe-Cathedral 64, Class M
1988 - St. Joseph 69, Harding 66, Class L
1990 - Bristol Central 66, St. Joseph 65, Class L
1992 - St. Joseph 85, East Catholic 67, Class L
1993 - St. Joseph 76, Bullard-Havens 57, Class L
1995 - Ansonia 56, St. Joseph 54, Class L
1996 - St. Joseph 67, Torrington 47, Class L
1997 - Harding 64, St. Joseph 58, Class L
2001 - St. Joseph 66, Holy Cross 48, Class L
2011 - St. Joseph 79 Fairfield Prep 53, Class LL

We're proud to have Montelli as this year's NHSCA's Boys' Basketball Coach of the Year.  Below is a list of our other 11 honorees.

2010 - Harvey Kitani, Fairfax HS, Los Angeles, CA
2009 - Jack Curran, Archbishop Molloy HS, Jamaica Plains, NY
2008 - Dick Katte, Denver Christian School, Denver, CO
2007 - Bob Hurley, St. Anthony HS, Jersey City, NJ
2006 - Jack Keefer, Lawrence North HS, Indianapolis, IN
2005 - Robert Hughes, Dunbar HS, Fort Worth, TX
2004 - Charles Smith, Peabody Magnet HS, Alexandria, LA
2003 - Dave Garvin, Philomatch HS, Philomath, OR
2002 - Jack Butcher, Loogootee HS, Loogootee, IN
2001 - Bob Williams, Schaumburg HS, Schaumburg, IL
2000 - Russell Otis, Dominguez HS, Compton, CA

Coach Montelli will be on Sunday's NHSCA Sports Hour around 6:20 PM EST.

Click here to listen to the show LIVE

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