Lenten Season Begins

Lenten Season Begins

On Wednesday, March 4, the Riordan community gathered for Mass to celebrate the beginning of the Lenten Season. During a recent Mentor Group meeting, our young men explored the subjects of “sacrifice” and “forgiveness.” Students wrote intentions on pieces of paper and placed the notes in wood blocks which formed a cross to represent each House. These reflections from our community were on display at the Ash Wednesday liturgy as a reminder that we all sin but we are all worthy of forgiveness. Thank you to our House Provincials for their leadership on this activity, and to our Campus Ministry team who masterfully handcrafted the blocks in their “wood shop.”

In other news, the talented staff of The Crusader delivered a timely review of the best fish sandwiches on Ocean Avenue if you are looking for a great meat-free meal. Read more here about their favorite finds.

Have a blessed Lent!

Wrestler Makes City and School History

Wrestler Makes City and School History

Congrats to Michael Bigler for a 7th place finish at the CIF wrestling state championships last weekend. He is the first junior from Riordan to medal at the state level, and also the first junior from San Francisco. He is pictured with coaches Tony Tran ’02, Zach Contreras ’13 and Jose Herrera.

Read more about Michael’s victory and achievements in this article by the San Francisco Examiner.

New Head Football Coach Announced

New Head Football Coach Announced

Dear Riordan Community,

The Athletic Department is proud to announce that Mark Modeste has been named Head Coach of the Archbishop Riordan Football Program, where he hopes to mentor young men and foster a culture of success in one of the most competitive leagues in the state. Among the host of extraordinary applicants from all over California and beyond, Coach Modeste stood out as the best match for our school at this time in its storied history, including this summer’s groundbreaking of the new Mayer Family Field at The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Athletic Complex.

A Bay Area native, Coach Modeste (pronounced Mo-dest) spent nine years as the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, where he guided the Gators to five Central Coast Section Championships, two NorCal Championships, and two trips to the state finals. This was all for a school that didn’t even have a football program until 1999. He most recently served as a History teacher and Head Football Coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Texas, where he led his team to an 8-3 season in which the team ultimately lost in the playoffs to the eventual Texas State 6A Champions.

Modeste grew up in the South Bay, where he excelled academically and played football at both St. Francis High School and Santa Clara University. He’s a family man, who is looking forward to coming home to the Bay Area with his wife, Sara, and their five children. For Riordan sports trivia enthusiasts, it’s worth noting that Mark’s dad, Ron, was the Riordan head football coach in the late 50’s and introduced the “Victory Bell” to Riordan culture. We are blessed to continue our relationship with the Modeste family.

As the son of a coach, Modeste has been a true student of the game. And having played in the WCAL and coached against WCAL teams, he is very familiar with the league. He helped SHP beat Riordan’s great 2015 team in the CCS championship, and according to SHP Assistant Coach Mark Fabbri, “Coach Modeste has a great understanding of defense and a great ability to communicate with his players and coaches. He engineered the game plan that enabled SHP to shut out Bellarmine in the CCS Open championship game in 2014.”

Most importantly, Modeste will be a role model to our boys. Fabbri went on to say, “Coach Modeste is a man of faith who was educated in Catholic schools and will instill Christian values in his players through example and perseverance. Character development is just as important to Mark as X’s and O’s.”

Our young men are lucky to have Coach Modeste join the Riordan community. Along with his impressive resume, he brings with him a confident energy and positive spirit that transcends the football field. Mark has a true appreciation of the value of high school sports. In his interview he stated, “I learned this game and how to teach it from some incredible men over the course of my life. It is my passion and calling to pass it on to others.”

Once again, Archbishop Riordan High School is pleased to welcome Mark Modeste and his family to our community. See additional coverage of this announcement in The Examiner.


Brian Kelly
Dean of Athletics and Student Affairs

Bob Greene
Athletic Director

Jay’Sen Morris
Athletic Director

Kudos and Gratitude

Kudos and Gratitude

This reflection was written by Bill Blanchard ’71 about his feelings about the Riordan community. You can read more about Bill’s incredible story here.

As I sit here in bed watching the rain I decided to forgo what I should be doing and instead take advantage of my power to “post” on the Go Fund Me page. For what it’s worth, I’m posting my belated acknowledgement and congratulations regarding recent developments at Riordan. Be forewarned, I speak of good news but for most of you – if not all – much of it’s old news.

I congratulate Archbishop Riordan High School for the progress they have been achieving these past few years. This “progress” is represented by the needed structural improvements to the gym, football field and beyond. Upgrades made possible by the committed participation and thoughtful donations from alumni and parents, the hours of work behind and beyond the doors of the Development offices, Board of Trustees, fund raising groups and, no doubt, other departments and supporters who gave of their time and resources. Then, as is often the case, green lights were given to the projects due to the rise in generous financial contributions from those who believe in Riordan’s overall mission. Or, so I surmise.

To begin with, the renovation of the basketball court/gym was long needed and naming it after Kevin Restani was an outstanding choice! Kevin was not only a force of great talent as a basketball player he was a kind, decent, fun young man and a friend of many. I know friends of his – like Bill Nasser ‘70 – worked tirelessly to raise the needed funds. What the Board of Trustees and everyone involved accomplished showed heart and purpose. I had the privilege to be on the 1970 Championship team with Kevin and if they had the new court back then (with some spring in the floor) maybe even I could have “dunked” the basketball…that is if the Coach ever let me off the bench. Riordan’s talented athletes and teams now have the court/gym they deserve and Riordan High School will forever have Kevin.

Without knowing them well, I have rarely come across a more principled and generous family than the major donors of the “Mayer Family Field.” I have found Mike ‘71 and Steve ’ 72 to be hard-working, intelligent, kind, generous men. And I’ve heard nothing but good about Tim ‘74 who was in my brother John’s class. I assume the rest of the Mayers are much the same. In Steve’s recently released book “The Toughest Guy I Ever Knew…and other short stories,” the “toughest guy” is his father. You can clearly see where the family got their values of doing the right thing, sticking to it during the rough times, thinking beyond yourself and regarding the needs of others. So, as an alum, I thank you Mayer family (and all the many contributors) for opening the gates to a new football field with your generosity. A new field on which Riordan’s former football players probably would have loved to play.

Then, last month, came the most recent bit of good news…and it was a tremendous bit to behold. An old neighborhood and grammar school friend, Carol Conroy, was kind enough to email me the story of the Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation’s staggering $750,000 grant to Riordan for the building of: The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Athletic Complex. The Athletic Complex housing the Mayer Family Field, a new baseball diamond, improved track, stands, etc. will provide an environment for superior physical education and team training, better competition, increased attendance and add a well deserved luster to Riordan athletics and Riordan the high school. People will notice; student/athletes will come. I thank Carol, Chair Steven Herrera, the other Trustees, the Development office and all who contributed to this project. And may Carl and Celia Berta Gellert be blessed.

I will, also, take advantage of this opportunity to congratulate Philip Cazahous ‘70 for being awarded the 2019 Chaminade Award. He thoughtfully gave back time and financial support to his Alma Mater and his generosity contributed to the school in many ways including the new facilities at Riordan.

Once again…congratulations Archbishop Riordan High School for these fantastic new developments! Now, along with support for classes in general education, technology and the sciences; may theater, art, music and other groups and programs that help develop imagination, expression, creativity and talent be so fortunate as to receive the funding they need to grow.

Taking a turn here, I know what it means to benefit from the generosity of others in time of need. I’m speaking now of the benefit dinner Riordan High School held for me in October. For that gift, that honor, I offer my deep sense of gratitude to the following staff at Riordan: Director of Development – John Ring, Jennie Done, Anne Seppi, Karin Haskell, Paul Cronin, Victoria Terheyden and the President of Riordan – Dr. Andrew Currier. I apologize to those individuals on Riordan’s staff who contributed and I failed to mention – for my gratitude extends to you as well.

I thank Bill Nasser for generously stocking and picking up the bar tab. As well as Sarita & Bob Ahern and their handsome son, along with all who volunteered at the benefit dinner. I wish I had everyone’s name because your thoughtfulness means so much to me.

Of course the benefit dinner would not have happened were it not for the men of honor or the honorable men: Dan Hayes, Capt. Dave Mahoney, Steve Mayer. My deepest gratitude to my friends.

Lastly, thank you Martin Snapp for your meaningful article on friendship in California Magazine and how high school friends came to my aid 50 years later. Thank you, as well, to Steven Rissotto for your fine article in the Winter edition of The Crusader newspaper titled: “Crusader brothers band together to support classmate.” And, thank you to Susan Sutton, CJE, who recommended Stephen for writing the story. He was a good choice. Ms. Sutton holds positions as an English Instructor and Newspaper Adviser at Riordan. I’d appreciate advice from any or all of the folks above on improving my writing.

Now, as I’ve been sitting here thinking of Riordan, and having said what I wanted to say, I notice how looking out the window, watching the rain and daydreaming, reminds me of being back in my high school classes.

With congratulations and gratitude,

Bill Blanchard

Wrestler Advances to State Championship

Wrestler Advances to State Championship

Congratulations to wrestler Michael Bigler ‘20 who placed 3rd in the 113-pound weight class at the CCS Championships. Michael qualified for the state competition in Bakersfield which begins this week. Kudos to Michael and to all of our wrestlers and coaches for another great season!

Band Wins Big at Winter Review

Band Wins Big at Winter Review

At the Mission San Jose Band Review last weekend, the Archbishop Riordan High School Band took home the Grand Sweepstakes trophy, earning the most cumulative points in each group category. The Winter Guard, Drumline and Drum Majors all took home first-place awards, including Senior JP Jacinto and Freshman Allen Forte. On display in Riordan’s Main Office this week is perhaps the biggest trophy the school has ever received.