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Clary Anderson (left), seen with the other member of Montclair's football coaching 'braintrust,' assistant Butch Fortunato, has been nominated for the NJSIAA Hall of Fame Class for 2015. (photo courtesy of Fortunatos)

Montclair's Immortal Coach Nominated For NJSIAA Hall
By Steve Tober

It’s almost hard to believe that the immortal Montclair High School football coach Clary Anderson is not yet in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame; however, every effort is being made with his nomination forwarded by Mountie Athletic Director Jeff Gannon.

The NJSIAA will induct its 2015 class during its annual business meeting set for Monday, Dec. 7, at the Pines Manor in Edison.

Anderson, who passed away in August of 1988, established himself as a national treasure as both a football and baseball coach at Montclair. His Mountie football teams won 18 state football championships during his reign as head coach from 1940-68, a stretch of time which was interrupted by his serving his country in the U.S. Navy (1941-45) during World War II when his friend and coaching colleague, Angelo “Butch” Fortunato took over the reins and guided the Mounties to the school’s first undefeated season (9-0) in 1943.

Anderson’s first football state title was awarded in 1941 and his final state championship honor was accorded in1966. His Montclair teams captured six straight crowns from 1952-57 and three in a row from 1964-66, two of the more memorable stretches in Mountie gridiron history.

Anderson along with Ohio legend Paul Brown are regarded as two of the top high school football coaches in American scholastic sports history. During his memorable coaching career, Anderson guided his teams to a 29-year record of 209-23-6 which also includes two seasons at Blair Academy.

His impressive high school baseball coaching record was 464-154, while he also headed the ice hockey program at Montclair for nine seasons (148-41-9) plus spent eight seasons as the Mounties head boys basketball coach (102-42) and four other seasons as the high school's head swimming coach (34-16-1).

Anderson left Montclair High in 1969 to become the head coach at Montclair State University in both football and baseball. In football he won five New Jersey Athletic Conference titles and a national small college championship.

Clarence Oscar ‘Clary’ Anderson was born in Montclair and was a star athlete at the township high school. He attended Colgate University where he was a standout football and baseball player from 1932-34. He later played professional baseball in the New York Giants organization, but he then decided to leave pro ball in order to pursue a career in teaching and coaching.

Anderson has already been inducted into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame, the Essex County Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame and the Halls of Fame at Montclair High. Montclair State and Colgate University.

Among those inducted along with Anderson in the 2005 Jersey Sports Hall of Fame Class were former Bloomfield, Notre Dame and Detroit Pistons basketball star Kelly Tripucka, Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivien Stringer and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier of Camden and the University of Nebraska.

Helping to spur along Anderson’s nomination in this year’s NJSIAA Hall of Fame Class have been Montclair High alums Ron Burton and Bill Kennedy. Burton, like Anderson, also excelled in football at Colgate and was the star quarterback on the undefeated 1964 Mountie eleven, considered by many as Montclair’s finest football edition. Kennedy, a longtime sportswriter with the Elizabeth Daily Journal, was a baseball player under Anderson before his graduation in 1958.

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

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