He helped in restoring the pride in the overall Montclair High School athletic programs to a high level that hadn’t been seen since the days of Clary Anderson and Butch Fortunato, two of the more renowned coach-AD figures in the rich history of the Essex County high school.
John Porcelli, who never coached his beloved sport of football at Montclair, even though he had been a Hall of Fame, multiple state playoff championship coach in his 16 seasons at Morristown, has decided to step aside from the high school scene on Oct. 31 when his retirement from Montclair will become official.
The assistant principal in charge of athletics at MHS for the past nine years, Porcelli – who will turn 61 on Sept. 8 – was accepted right away by the frequently hard-to-please Montclair fanatic sports populace after he arrived on the scene to guide the Mountie athletics, helping to right the ship after more than a decade of problems in terms of the quality of overall guidance of the athletic programs at the school following the retirement of Fortunato as AD in 1989.
“I’ve enjoyed my time at Montclair High School, and the people have been terrific, but it’s time for me to move on and do some different things with my life; however, I will still remain active in sports and in football,” said Porcelli, who began his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Columbia, where he was also the head football coach for five seasons before moving on to Morristown. “I will be working with John McCarthy at the Yogi Berra Musuem Learning Center in helping to develop some of the programs there for coaches, parents and athletes, and I also plan to remain active with the SEC (Super Essex Conference) in some capacity.
“I am director of the football for the SEC through December, and I’m helping to coordinate the schedules for independent games between the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association and the SEC for 2014 and 2015, among other roles I’ve been performing and hope to continue to be involved with.”
Porcelli has been credited with helping to select a strong group of young coaches who have fit in very nicely at MHS during his tenure as assistant principal in charge of athletics, including Ron Gavazzi (baseball), Pat Verney (ice hockey), Mike Freedman (wrestling) and Bianca Brown (girls basketball).
He has been involved with the process of revamping the Woodman Field buildings, which includes the outstanding, state-of-the-art Fuzzy Furlong Fieldhouse and other updated facilities within the complex.
Along with directing the athletics programs, Porcelli has had to assist in other areas within the high school in his role as an assistant principal.
“It has become a 24/7 job, and there are certainly extra duties that go beyond things related to athletics, and I certainly realize that is part of the job, but now I’d like to do some other things involved with sports that I really want to do at this point of my life,” he said. “It’s been a great run at both Morristown where I was athletic director and head football coach for eight years, and here at Montclair where I’ve enjoyed the challenges of the job.
“I believe the vast majority of athletic teams have improved and prospered during my tenure here.”