Life of a Brave: Alumnus Dr. Eric Lane Returns to Fill Big Shoes as Athletic Director

By Connor Sheehan, Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Eric Lane, Class of 2003, returns as the successor to St. John Bosco High School legend Mr. Monty McDermott, with an overarching plan to, in his terms, “trust the process,” as he looks to continue and evolve the rich tradition of Brave athletics.

Photo by Robert Visty III, Photo Editor

Dr. Lane is aiming to first and foremost develop Bosco’s student-athlete’s as holistic young men, emphasizing the importance of both academic and athletic life. Dr. Lane mentions that to develop a holistic man, certain parameters have to be met.

“Trust the process. We are extremely blessed here at St. John Bosco high school because we have developed a reputation of excellence. We didn’t get here by not being holistic,” Dr. Lane said. “We’ve done things the right way since this school’s creation in 1940. We have to continue to trust that process, and it’s our job to foster those young men and continue to implement the strategies we’ve learned.”

He believes that retaining that guiding principle will allow Bosco to continue its success in athletics, but also serve as the springboard for even greater success. Trusting that process, but reimagining it at the same time.

Dr. Lane attended Bosco from 1999-2003. During his time at Bosco, he served as team captain for the varsity basketball team, and his team won a CIF Championship in 2003.  Succeeding a prolific winner in Mr. McDermott, Dr. Lane is no stranger to success and winning at a high level.

Beyond Bosco, Dr. Lane would go on to play collegiate basketball at Boise State and professionally in the Europe for TG Renesas Landshut in Germany and BC Rakvere Tarvas in Estonia. Dr. Lane attributes his success in both athletics and education to his time at Bosco. 

“Bosco was really a turning point in my life. As an African American from South Central Los Angeles, coming to Bosco opened up so many different opportunities,” Dr. Lane said. “The four years I spent here were really transformative to my life and set the tone of how I went into adulthood. [Bosco] taught me how to translate my athletic skills into life skills.”

One of his contemporaries, Principal Dr. Kris Anderson, Class of 2004, spoke admirably of Dr. Lane and is excited to work with him.

“He has an infectious personality, he’s incredibly knowledgeable, and he was quickly able to articulate his vision. I think ultimately what he brings is a perspective that has a lot of crossover that brings value as a former athlete and, beyond that, a man of faith. With all of his experiences combining, it’s just exciting to have him back on campus,” said Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Lane notably represents the African American community, as the first black Director of Athletics at Bosco and being hired in a Trinity League that continues to diversify. Given that, Dr. Lane has a unique perspective regarding representation.

“As a person of color – as a black man – we are all aware of the racial inequities and societal issues that we have around race. I take a lot of pride to be the first black man in this position, but also that I can show all of our students and anyone else that you can elevate yourself to be in a position of leadership and inspire real change,” said Dr. Lane.

Dr. Lane is succeeding Mr. Monty McDermott, Bosco’s most successful and notable Athletic Director. Under McDermott’s tenure, St. John Bosco became an athletics program that consistently sits at the top of the Trinity League in multiple sports and holds two national, nine state and 18 CIF team championships.

“When I think of Monty, I was a student here when he was first hired, and he was always a great leader and supporter. I stayed in touch with him throughout my career as an athletic administrator,” said Dr. Lane. “I feel a sense of responsibility to not only carry on his legacy, but to do exactly what he would want to do and continue to elevate our standards of excellence and continue to build more opportunities for students and continue to build winning programs. I want us to change our departments to where we are running like a well-oiled machine, with the infrastructure and protocols and procedures to allow our coaches to be great.” 

Dr. Lane is beyond qualified in the field of athletic administration, serving as the Director of Development in Athletics at Cal Baptist University and Associate Director of Development in Athletics at California State University, Fullerton, and his high level degrees are a Bachelors in Communications from Boise State University, a Masters in Coaching from Concordia University and a Doctorate in Leadership and Education from California State University, Fresno.

Bosco President Dr. Brian Wickstrom, who has plenty of athletic administrative experience himself, gave an overwhelmingly positive view of the hiring of Dr. Lane.

“[Dr. Lane] is an outstanding individual who genuinely cares about the St. John Bosco student experience, understands St. John Bosco and its culture since he is a graduate, and has a very deep understanding of athletics from his years of experience in athletics,” Dr. Wickstrom said. “[He is] a very caring person, who genuinely cares about the future of St. John Bosco and St. John Bosco Athletics, cares about preparing students for successful post-high school careers in academics and athletics.”

Dr. Wickstrom mentions Dr. Lane’s eyes for the future successes of student-athletes beyond their time at Bosco, on which Dr. Lane placed a unique emphasis. 

“Alumni need to show that they are walking proof of St. John Bosco’s mission, and I want to highlight the importance of getting people back on campus to do that,” said Dr. Lane. “Come back home!”

There is no doubt that Dr. Lane holds a great regard for the values of Salesianity, the keystone of Bosco’s culture. A major part of his plan for Bosco Athletics is derivative of that need for Salesianity.

“[St. John Bosco High School] needs to continue to carry out those things that Don Bosco had wanted us to carry out. One thing I talk a lot about with my coaches is the importance of developing good young men, and from my experience that is rooted in part in Salesianity.”

Dr. Lane encompasses all of what Don Bosco intended and more, and his return to Bosco marks a continuation of that legacy.

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