Life of a Brave: St. John Bosco Mourns the Loss of Longtime Athletic Director and Alumnus Mr. Monty McDermott

by Eric Torres, Editor-In-Chief

Last week, the Brave community lost Mr. Monty McDermott, class of 1986, who most notably served as the Director of Athletics, but to many, was far more than that. 

For 29 wonderful years, Mr. McDermott was a pillar of St. John Bosco. Since taking over as Athletic Director in 2002, St. John Bosco enjoyed the most successful athletic department run in the school’s history. Including a move into the elite Trinity League, Mr. McDermott is responsible for many of the changes that led to the successes that the school and its community have been accustomed to for quite some time now. 

During his time as Athletic Director, St. John Bosco won a remarkable 52 varsity league titles, 79 CIF titles, 26 state championships and 11 national championships. 

“They (Mr. McDermott and former principal Pat Lee) made an institutional commitment to compete with the teams in the Trinity League,” said instructor of Religious Studies Mr. Joe Griffin, class of 1975. 

Although all of Bosco’s athletic teams have seen vast improvements since the beginning of his tenure, Mr. McDermott’s transformation of Bosco football into a powerhouse on the national level was one of, if not his most incredible accomplishment. Bosco football’s success began roughly a decade ago, with league titles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, state championships in 2013, 2016, and 2019, with those 2013 and 2019 campaigns ending with the Braves as National Champions.

“His guidance and belief in our vision were two primary reasons we are where we are today,” wrote Braves football head coach Jason Negro, class of 1991, in a statement released last Saturday morning. 

Furthermore, part of the success can be attributed to the loyalty and support that he showed all coaches and athletic programs. He was a regular sight at sporting events, whether it was football, baseball or basketball.

“His legacy is ensuring that a Salesian education doesn’t just stop in the classroom, but it extends beyond to all aspects of our school,” said Principal Dr. Kris Anderson, class of 2004.

Being a practicing Catholic, God was very important to Mr. McDermott, so it is no surprise that he understood how to extend that Salesian education into athletics. He greatly valued success in the classroom in addition to success on the field or court. 

“Scholar-athletes was something we didn’t use to do, and he thought that it was very important to honor the students who were getting a 3.0 and playing a varsity sport,” said Mrs. Jeanne Pantuso, who worked alongside Mr. McDermott in the athletics office for decades.

Mr. McDermott himself was a spectacular athlete. While attending Bosco, he served as captain of both the football and baseball teams, and was also an All-League athlete in both sports. Incredibly, McDermott set a national high school record, and still holds the state record, for most runs batted in (RBIs) for one baseball game with 14, in a game where he hit three home runs, two being grand slams, against Don Bosco Tech. Mr. McDermott also went on to play college baseball at the University of La Verne.

Due to his incredible athletic abilities, Mr. McDermott was a well-known member of the athletic community, especially in the Southern California region. 

Although he is most well-known for being Bosco’s Athletic Director, Mr. McDermott also served Bosco as a dean, baseball coach, football coach, math teacher, physical education teacher and assistant Athletic Director. He also served as the CIF representative for the Trinity League. 

“I think he leaves too big of a legacy to even express. He has been so involved with so many things over the years. I think he will never be forgotten,” said Mrs. Pantuso. 

As a coach, he was very loved by those who had the privilege and opportunity to play for him. His style of coaching, being strict and meticulous while also coaching with positivity, really had an impact on many who played on his athletic teams. One such athlete who had the pleasure of playing for Mr. McDermott is current social studies instructor and former varsity baseball coach Mr. Mario Cordero, class of 1997.

“He was a positive coach. He wasn’t negative; he didn’t speak down to us. He was tough, but he was understanding, and I really looked up to him as a freshman,” said Mr. Cordero.

Beyond all of this, however, there were several qualities held by Mr. McDermott that made him not only special, but also a model man of faith. 

One of these qualities was his immense love for St. John Bosco. After his four years here as a student of the class of 1986, Monty’s love for the school drew him back for what ended up being nearly another 30 years. Because of the many positions he held, Mr. McDermott impacted many who have either worked or attended St. John Bosco and gave an unrivaled demonstration of what the model Salesian educator looks like.

“He was passionate about Bosco. He loved Bosco, and he named his golden retriever Bosco. You’d see Monty, and he was always wearing Bosco gear,” said Mr. Cordero.

Of the many lasting impacts that Mr. McDermott leaves, which began when he first set foot on campus as a Brave in 1982, is the belief that he had in St. John Bosco. His belief in the school is what enabled him to bring the energy and love that touched everyone he met. His demonstration of what it means to show up every day and give all he has to give and work hard for an institution is the legacy that he leaves behind at Bosco. 

“[His impact is] his loyalty to the school, his love for the school, and his willingness to work hard every day for the advancement of the athletes and the school itself,” said Mr. Griffin. 

Another quality held by Mr. McDermott that was admired by all those who met him was his positive attitude and humor. His friendliness and happiness were very endearing aspects of his character, and made him someone that everyone wanted to be around. 

“He was completely caring. We’ve all had those days where we don’t want to talk to people, but I don’t think he ever did, or at least showed that. He always made sure that the people he was with were in a good place,” said Dr. Anderson.  

His love for St. John Bosco, however, was second only to one thing: his family. Mr. McDermott is survived by his wife, Delores McDermott and his son, Monty McDermott Jr., the loves of his life. His love for Bosco and his family were connected as he greatly involved his family into Bosco affairs. 

“Monty involved his family, and I think that really illuminates the reality that Bosco was family for Monty. The McDermott family was always around Bosco, and I think that is a testament to who he was not only as a family man, but a Bosco family man too,” said Mr. Cordero. 

His family truly was a Brave family. With him being an alumnus, and his parents being very involved in the community and his sisters attending St. Joseph High School, there was not much more possible involvement for Mr. McDermott. Through and through, Mr. McDermott was a Brave in his heart and a prime example of what it means to be a Brave. 

The Brave community is currently awaiting more information concerning services for Mr. McDermott. However, if there are any tributes, quotes, or memories that one desires to share, contact socialmedia@bosco.org.  

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