Share this article

print logo

Monti's approach at LaSalle still lives on

This is the 11th in a series of stories on the 2008 inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.


Gulf Coast High School is located in Naples, Fla., and it has a basketball team.

And if that team happens to get pressured inbounding the ball, they know what they're going to run: a LaSalle pressbreaker.

Pat Monti may officially be retired from coaching basketball, but his winning traditions built at LaSalle High in Niagara Falls live on.

"Almost every out-of-bounds play are things we used to run," said Monti, who will soon be entering his fourth season as a volunteer assistant at Gulf Coast in Naples, where he and his wife, Kathy, are retired.

"Our pressbreakers are exactly what we used to do. On one we would run Modie [Cox] or Timmy [Winn] and all of our point guards -- instead of having your '4' or '5' take the ball out of bounds, we'd have the '1' take it out, get it back and shoot up the middle. We're doing a lot of stuff we used to do. If you ever saw us play, you'd see a lot of LaSalle."

Monti will be back in Western New York on Oct. 29, when he will be honored with 12 other local sports greats inside HSBC Arena as this year's induction class of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Monti's LaSalle teams won 11 Section VI championships -- including an astounding state-record 10 in a row in 1988-97 -- and 13 Niagara Frontier League titles. The 1987-88 team went 27-0 and won the Class B state public school and Federation championships. LaSalle captured Class A public school crowns in 1995 and '96, and made seven appearances in the state public school Final Four.

Monti posted a 423-112 record at LaSalle and his 462 overall wins rank third on the Western New York all-time list.

"It goes without saying that you don't have that kind of success without having great players," said Monti. "A lot of those players were honed into the LaSalle system -- no-nonsense, structure, discipline and a belief in what we were telling you."

Parts of that system have been installed at Gulf Coast. Monti agreed take on a part-time coaching role the year that Adam Hale, then 29, began his first head coaching job in varsity basketball.

"It's the perfect situation, because I don't have to deal with anyone but the kids on the court," said Monti. "[Hale] still listens to me, and he's getting better with X's and O's and calling timeouts. He's really bought into everything I've taught him."

Things appear to be going well. Gulf Coast won 19 games, a record for the 10-year-old school, and won its first Class 4A District 15 championship before losing to the eventual state champion Dillard in the playoffs.

"We're building something special," Monti said, "a mini-little LaSalle program."

The Gulf Coast practices are run in college-style segments, just as LaSalle did. Monti might even have another point guard to add to his long list of alumni.

"We have a point guard who reminds me of Modie Cox. We brought him up last year as a sophomore and we won nine straight games," Monti said of Korenzo Smith. "He's 5-9 and grabs the rim -- I showed him tapes of Modie Cox. He's got a frame just like him, he's quick like he was, aggressive defensively like he was. I told him, 'You shoot like he does, which isn't very good, but I'm going to work on that with you. You keep your head on straight and you can become a Division I player.' "

This season marks 40 straight years of coaching for Monti. He cited Smith as being one reason he'll likely stay involved at least two more years.

"As long as I stay healthy and I'm enjoying it, I'll keep doing it," he said. "I'll probably stay at least two more. Every year when I say it might be my last year, every player says, 'Coach, you have to at least stay until I graduate.' "

For ticket information and more on the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, go to


There are no comments - be the first to comment