Legendary coach Frank Monica retires as quality successor Wayne Stein takes reins at St. Charles Catholic
It has been an amazing career for Frank Monica.
Through four high school head coaching jobs, Monica won state championships at three of those stops, including Lutcher, Riverside Academy and St. Charles Catholic. He was an excellent coach at Jesuit as well.
In all, Monica has spent half a century coaching the sport he loves in great fashion.
Now, the next half century will start without one of the best coaches in Louisiana prep football history.
Monica announced that he is retiring after his Comets just completed another outstanding season, reaching the Division III state championship game, falling 12-7 to Lafayette Christian in Natchitoches in a game heard live on 106.1 FM.
He told his team after the championship game but the announcement was not made until Monday.
In 30 years as a head coach at the high school level, Monica posted an impressive 284-87 mark, winning 76.5 percent of his games. Monica retires as the winningest coach in River Parish Football history, an outstanding distinction, given the rich history of River Parish football teams and coaches.
Monica won a state title at St. Charles Catholic in 2011 and guided the Comets to six state championship games.
Wayne Stein, Monica’s nephew who has served in outstanding fashion as the defensive coordinator under Monica and as an excellent head baseball coach, will take over the football program in 2021 and also takes over as athletic director for Monica.
The oldest axiom in coaching is to never follow a legend but Stein is poised, qualified and the obvious perfect successor to his mentor.
An alumnus (Class of 1999), Stein has been at St. Charles Catholic for 17 years, since 2004, serving as defensive coordinator. Stein has been the head baseball coach since 2013. He led the Comet baseball team to a state championship in 2019. Stein will continue as the head baseball coach as well.
“I will do it (baseball, athletic director and football) for as long as I can,” Stein said. “I love coaching baseball and it is an honor to continue in that capacity here.”
While baseball is a passion, Stein admits that taking over the Comet football program is special.
“It is a dream come true,” Stein said. “I am an alumnus. I’d be lying that if didn’t tell you that I have mixed emotions. Coach Monica is my mentor. There is a bit of excitement and a bit of sorrow. I think he’s prepared me well. He made me a coordinator at a young age. All I wanted to do was make him proud. I plan on doing the same moving forward.”
Having been part of an outstanding staff and excellent program gives Stein peace moving forward.
“I think the one thing that takes a lot of my anxiety away is that I trust the staff we have. They are very capable and they will stay. I trust our kids, parents and administration. Our program is built to last. We’ve had success for a long time. We learned how to build a successful baseball program, playing with energy, discipline and toughness, those are not going to change.”
Ty Monica, Frank’s son, will be the offensive coordinator while Jason Brown takes over as defensive coordinator. Brown coached previously at many stops, including as defensive coordinator at East Ascension and Dutchtown.
“Jason has brought our defense to the next level since arriving in 2017,” Stein said. “Ty is an outstanding coach who will continue to get better. We are fortunate to have both.”
Monica’s other son, Nick, is the head football coach at Archbishop Rummel, where he led the Raiders to a Division I state championship in his first year as head coach in 2019 after serving as an assistant to Jay Roth from 2006-18.
Monica served two different stints as an assistant coach at Tulane between high school jobs. He also served as an assistant coach at Nicholls State.
Monica began his high school coaching career as an assistant coach at Lutcher in 1971 before becoming the head coach of the Bulldogs in 1976.
Monica was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Monica developed a love for both baseball and football at Reserve High School, where he was a fine player in both sports. He went on to play baseball at Nicholls State.
Monica will now have plenty of time to enjoy time with his wife, Nancy, and his 11 grandchildren.
He has earned that right but he will be missed in the coaching profession, by media, whom he always entertained with one of many jokes and by the players whose lives he touched and impacted.
While Monica will be sorely missed in coaching, he will be sorely missed by those in our business as well.
While he was the most surly, serious, hotly competitive person on game day and we knew to stay away from him in pre-game warmups, Monica was the king of the one-liners and best jokes of any coach at any level anywhere.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…