Montclair football coach John Fiore, who guided the Essex County school to four sectional titles and three unbeaten seasons in 11 years, announced leave on Tuesday to deal with a family situation persistent.
“My children need me at home right now. Something happened that I can’t share, that you wouldn’t want to happen to anyone’s family, ”Fiore said Tuesday after practice at Woodman Field in Montclair. “It’s really important for me to be home and take care of my family and kids at this point.”
Pete Ramiccio, Montclair assistant since 2010, will assume the head coach role for 2021.
“It’s a bit surreal to be honest,” said Ramiccio, who coached college in Syracuse and Iona before returning to high school ranks at Fair Lawn and Montclair. “We were hoping to find a way to get Coach Fiore back and keep things going, but it’s an honor. I have been coaching and teaching in this district for a long time so being the head coach, even if only for a year, is a huge honor for me.
Fiore said Ramiccio has taken over 50% of the team’s head coach role in the past five years.
“We call it an uplifting delegate,” Fiore said. “He’s going to prove to everyone that he’s a damn good head coach. “
When asked if he thought his days as a coach at Montclair were over, Fiore said: “If I thought it was over I would have quit.”
Fiore arrived at Montclair in 2010 after head coaching stops at Spotswood, Marlboro and his alma mater, Neptune. Montclair finished 4-4 in 2020, which took Fiore’s career record to 93-31 with the Mounties and 155-71-1 in 21 seasons overall.
“At Montclair, you are part of an incredible tradition,” said Fiore. “We’ve been playoff worthy every year and only one of those 10 years of the playoffs hasn’t made a semifinal. Consistently, we’ve put ourselves on the map with Ramapo, Wayne Hills, and a few other programs as one of the best public schools in the north.
Fiore’s teams at Montclair won three back-to-back sectional titles from 2012 to 2014, a span that included 24 straight wins and an overall record of 35-1. The team’s only loss, in three years, came in their 2014 opener against Pascack Valley.
Montclair won his fourth title with Fiore at the helm in 2017 when running back Danny Webb, quarterback Tarrin Earle and wide receiver Colin Callahan helped to cap undefeated third season of Fiore’s tenure with a 35-14 win over Union City in NJ, Section 1, Group 5 final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
According to Fiore, 165 players continued to play college football under his tutelage. This list includes players in almost every Power Five conference.
Montclair’s most recent NFL success story came in 2019 when 2015 graduate Josh Allen was selected seventh overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Allen, an EDGE rusher, led all rookies with 10 1/2 sacks in his first season.
“No one wanted him except Monmouth. Then Kentucky took a chance on him, ”Fiore said Tuesday.
Fiore has also coached players who have gone on to captain Rutgers, Temple and several Ivy League schools. He said he was most proud of making Montclair a viable place for colleges to find players.
“We really released a great product and a great brand,” Fiore said.
Montclair opens its season on Friday September 3 at East Orange.
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