PREP FOOTBALL | TIMES CO-COACH OF THE YEAR | MOUNT CARMEL'S FRANK LENTI

Mount Carmel's Frank Lenti is The Times 2012 Co-Coach of the Year

2012-12-07T00:00:00Z 2014-05-12T22:19:20Z Mount Carmel's Frank Lenti is The Times 2012 Co-Coach of the YearMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
December 07, 2012 12:00 am  • 

CHICAGO | Frank Lenti's passion for coaching dates back to his high school days when he was coaching CYO basketball at his old grammar school, St. Ailbe on Chicago's South Side.

It was a passion which might have been put on hold and could have been one of those what-if-he-would-have stories.

Lenti graduated from Mount Carmel High School in 1969 and entered Loyola University with the intent of becoming a dentist.

"I was in the pre-dent program, took the science courses," Lenti said. "That lasted about a semester and I decided it wasn't for me.

"I just couldn't see spending the rest of my life standing up and looking down someone's choppers all day."

Lenti decided to try education and coaching. He played club football at Loyola and developed a knowledge for the game that he didn't play in high school.

"I came out for freshman football (1965) and they told me to go home, that I was too small," Lenti said. "My athletic accomplishment at Mount Carmel is that I was captain of the baseball team my senior year."

Lenti's career switch has influenced hundreds of young men as he coached at the grammar school level, then under the late John Cappello at St. Francis de Sales, Frank Esposito at Thornton and Bill Barz at Mount Carmel. He has become the state's winningest football coach with 326 wins.

The Caravan won the program's 11th state football title and 10th under Lenti this season as Mount Carmel beat Glenbard North to become the first Catholic school to win a Class 8A state championship. For his outstanding effort, Lenti is The Times Co-Coach of the Year.

"It's not just me, it is us," Lenti said. "My coaching staff has been with me for a long time and all the hours, the work they put in and the players who make the commitment -- they are the reasons for our success."

Former Richards coach Gary Korhonen, whom Lenti passed for the coaching record, has nothing but praise for for his friend.

"Frank is the greatest high school coach in Illinois, for that matter, the country," Korhonen said. "He teaches kids life's lessons and is very loyal. Frank is just a great person."

Mount Carmel president, Father Tony Mazurkiewicz, O.Carm. is a 1992 Mount Carmel grad and started on the 1990 and 1991 state championship teams before playing at Yale. He laughed about being the boss of someone who was one of his mentors as well as a coach. Mazurkiewicz, who grew up in Glenwood, praised what Lenti has done for the school.

"First of all, Frank was and still is a great motivator of young men and not just on the football field," Mazurkiewicz said. "He is what Mount Carmel is about. He is about not just football, but getting prepared for life and its challenges. Mount Carmel is a product of its people. He has been here 31 years (total) and he is a great example of what Mount Carmel is about."

In his office, which until about 10 years ago was small closet-sized room with a light bulb, Lenti has photos of former players in college uniforms. The only reference to a Carmel grad in the NFL is a Donovan McNabb bobblehead doll. He and Mount Carmel coaches use the athletic field as an extension of the classroom.

"The reason is my goal, my job is to get them to college where they can get an education that will last them for life," Lenti said. "Our goal is not to get them into the pros, but for those who make it to the NFL, that is great, but if we don't make sure they have an education and are prepared for life, then we have not done our job."

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best football team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News