Jack Menotti, who coached Madison to an undefeated season on the field in 1972, passed away Dec. 28, 2012.
Menotti, 78, also coached at Mesa College and was head coach at Ramona. He was introduced to coaching in the 1960s by Birt Slater, the legendary Kearny High mentor.
“He didn’t have a football background but he wanted to get into football,” Slater recalled. “I told him, ‘You go home this summer and learn as much as you can. We’ll see where you are when we come back to school.'”
Menotti apparently was a quick study. “He became a very good coach,” said Slater, who appointed Menotti to his staff and eventually named the Los Angeles-area native defensive coordinator of teams that were annual playoff contenders in the late ‘sixties.
Madison’s 8-0-1 season of 1972 was almost wrecked by an administrative error which resulted in two forfeits that followed back-to-back victories over Clairemont, 41-6, and Point Loma, 14-3, early in the season.
Despite the two forfeits, Madison still was battling for the Western League championship when the Warhawks met Kearny late in the 1972 season.
The teams fought to a 15-15 tie. Kearny won the championship with a 4-1-1 record and went into the playoffs. Madison was 4th at 3-2-1 but would been 4-2 and the champion had it beaten Kearny, which also would have finished 4-2.