Ron Anello was not yet even a gleam in his father’s eye as Sylvester ‘Bull’ Anello and Bill Hoest manned the tackle positions for Montclair’s first undefeated football team back in 1943 when the usual head man, Clary Anderson, was off to serve in his country in the U.S. Navy with World War II in full swing, and the other member of the Mounties’ ‘braintrust,’ Butch Fortunato, assumed the head coaching reins for the war years.
One of Bull Anello’s teammates on the 1941 team, Bill McGurk, was already in the U.S. Army Air Corps and came back home at one point to pay a visit to his younger brother, 1943 Mounties standout fullback Jim McGurk, who along with quarterback George Heddy and a superb O-Line with Bull Anello and Co. helped lead Butch’s Montclair team to a perfect 9-0 record that fall.
The Anello connection with Montclair football would be rekindled more than a generation later with Bull’s oldest boy, Mike Anello, playing on Butch’s 1971 Mounties, and then followed shortly thereafter by Ron, a hard-nosed senior center, noseguard and linebacker on the 1975 team.
Then, after graduating Trenton State where he excelled on the O-Line for coach Eric Hamilton, Ron Anello was lured back home by Butch to fill a spot as a physical education teacher at Watchung School, and also assume the head softball coaching position at Montclair High even though Anello was not a softball guy perse but had been brought up with baseball.
“I would have stood on a corner all day if Butch asked me,” Anello says with a smile now. “My mom (Lillian), who had worked in the cafeteria at both Montclair High School and Montclair State, was in the supermarket when Butch saw her and told her to have me call him about a phys ed teaching job that was open.
“That was the way things were done back then. They were different times for sure.
“I also was on the football coaching staff at Montclair until Butch retired in 1983 and I was ‘riffed’ (reduction in force), and not rehired as a teacher, so I was on to my next job, and now, almost 40 years later, I’m back again!”
Anello, who has had a varied career in education and coaching, including head coaching stints at both West Essex (for 10 years) and Clifton (for seven seasons), and as the athletic director at both Wallkill Valley (for seven years) and Ramapo High School (11 more years), had returned to his roots last summer as an assistant coach in charge of the linemen as a member of Montclair first-year head coach Jermain Johnson’s new-look staff heading into the 2022 season which -of course – ended in heartbreaking fashion as the Mounties were assessed forfeits in all nine of their games due to what was determined to have been use of an illegible player.
Now, as everyone in Montclair turns their attentions to hopefully brighter times for the football program and the high school in 2023, Anello is being presented with added responsibilities - in fact quite a heavy load to deal with in these challenging times - as he is now the new ‘interim’ athletic director at Montclair High School.
He assumes the role – at least on a temporary basis – vacated when PJ Scarpello, left the post he held for five years for a new job in New Hope, Pa., closer to his home in West Jersey.