The Montclair school board has opted to go with an experienced hand and a Montclair native to lead the high school athletic department.

Ron Anello, who was a coach for the Montclair High School football team this past fall, was named the interim athletic director last week to replace P.J. Scarpello, who recently resigned to be athletic director of the New Hope-Solebury School District in New Hope, Pennsylvania, at the end of October.

The hiring of Anello comes on the heels of the Montclair High School football team’s forfeiture of their victories in the 2022 season when it was found out that the squad was playing with a player who was academically ineligible.

The school district is currently investigating the disqualification of the football team. There is no timeline for the results of that investigation.

Anello was recently the athletic director at Ramapo High School in Bergen County from 2011 to 2021 before retiring. He became part of the Montclair football coaching staff under head coach Jermain Johnson this fall. 

The new interim athletic director was born and raised in Montclair and graduated from Montclair High School in 1976. In addition, Anello was a teacher, assistant football coach and head softball coach in the Montclair school district.

“I never imagined coming back to Montclair after a 40-year career, but it’s a place I love and of course have always had a connection with,” Anello said. “Working with Jermain has been great, and the district saw there was a bigger need I could help with. At the end of the day, it’s always about serving the kids, and that’s why I’m here.”

For Montclair schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said the hiring of Anello as interim athletic director comes at a perfect time.

"Ron Anello is exactly the right person to continue building on the success of Montclair’s athletic programs both on and off the field,” Ponds said. “He combines outstanding administrative skill with an ability to inspire students to greater heights both academically and as athletes."

Anello stated that he will not apply for the full-time position. 

"No, I'm retired," Anello said. "I'll be 65 in May, and I've been doing this for 40 years, which is enough." 

The school district will begin the search for a permanent athletic director later in the school year, said David Cantor, Montclair Public Schools executive director of communications and community engagement.

The discovery of the ineligible player or players came the day before the Mounties were to play at Ridgewood in the North 1 Group 5 state playoff opener, which Montclair also forfeited.

In addition to being athletic director at Ramapo High School, Anello's resume includes his tenure as athletic director at Wallkill Valley Regional High School along with time as head football coach at West Essex High School and Clifton High School, where he led the Mustangs to a state football championship in 2006.