Patrick Monti

Patrick Monti

Legendary LaSalle HS Basketball Coach

The name is synonymous with high school basketball success not only in Western New York, but state-wide, as well.

Pat Monti, already enshrined in the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame and the Niagara Falls Sports Hall of Fame, completes the trifecta tonight.

Now in semi-retirement in Naples, FL, he still has his hand in the sport as a volunteer assistant coach and mentor (to the head coach) at Gulf Coast High School, positions he’ll take shortly into a fourth straight season.

Monti spent 25 years at LaSalle High in Niagara Falls, compiling a 423-112 record. The high school is but a memory now. Closed in 2000, its tradition of high school basketball excellence has been passed, and continued, by Niagara Falls High.

But Monti’s, and his Explorers’, successes will be long remembered and marveled.

Some might even remember that the team he inherited in 1975 finished winless in 18 games the year before. During his tenure, LaSalle captured two New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships in back-to-back years (1995 and ’96) and appeared as a semifinalist in seven New York public school final four tournaments.

The Explorers captured 11 Section VI titles – 10 straight – and 13 Niagara Frontier League crowns. Monti’s 1987-88 team completed an unbeaten season, 27-0, setting a WNY record for wins and capturing the State Class B and federation championships along the way.

Besides an enviable record over the years, three things had been constant in Monti’s tenure at LaSalle, the first two were discipline, and undersized teams. The discipline he instilled in his players – many of them from tough backgrounds in the Falls – in turn was exhibited on the court when that discipline was transformed into tenacious defense that more than made up for the Explorers’ lack of height.

The third? The presence of a prominent, domineering and heady guard.

When LaSalle closed its doors, Monti, who had been a candidate for the new Niagara Falls High job, became the head coach at Niagara Catholic and stayed three years before retiring.

Golf and tennis, looked upon in expectation during winters in the Falls, are now an everyday enjoyment for Monti. Along of course, with basketball.