CHSAA Enrolls 5 to Its Hall of Fame

The CHSAA is a thriving organization built upon the Catholic values of sport.

The league has been able to continue to mold student-athletes in the Catholic tradition based on the dedication of countless people who have given graciously of themselves to benefit the youth.

On Ascension Thursday, the CHSAA hosted its 32nd annual Hall of Fame dinner at the Inwood Country Club. Though the golf portion of the day was rained out, five deserving honorees were recognized for their lifetime of service to the local high school sports community.

Gary DeCesare spent 16 seasons as the head varsity boys’ basketball coach at St. Raymond’s H.S., the Bronx. He led his teams to two state championship titles and four city championship victories. He was named N.Y.C. and N.Y.S. Coach of the Year four times.

He moved on to the college ranks to become an assistant head coach at the University of Richmond, Va., before becoming the associate head coach at DePaul University, Chicago.

After seven years coaching college, he has now settled in as the head coach of St. Rita of Cascia H.S., Chicago, where he led his teams to four consecutive Catholic League championships from 2012 to 2015 and back-to-back regional championships in 2014 and 2015. More than 40 of his players have moved on to play Division I college basketball.

Dominick Galimi has been coaching swimming at Fordham Prep, the Bronx, for 20 years. He has led his teams to six State federation overall titles, eight N.Y.S. Catholic school championships and eight CHSAA championships in the past 10 years. The team has been nationally ranked nine times.

Over 50 of his swimmers have gone on to compete in college. Recently, four former Fordham Prep student-athletes and one current team member attended the trials for the 2016 Olympic Games. More than 20 of his swimmers have achieved All-American status. Five Prep alumni have won individual state titles under Galimi, while the team has won 11 state titles.

Brother Antonio Montera, O.S.F., is a 1958 graduate of Bishop Loughlin M.H.S., Fort Greene, who became a Franciscan brother in 1962. He began teaching at St. Patrick’s, Fort Greene, in 1964 and moved to Bishop Ford H.S., Park Slope, in 1967.

It was at Ford where he became moderator of the cross-country and track and field programs. He transferred to St. Anthony’s H.S., South Huntington, L.I., in 1984 and continues to coach there to this day.

Brother Antonio is also the secretary of the CHSAA track and field committee. He co-founded the Girls’ Eastern States Track and Field Championships 30 years ago.

Wally Stampfel was the president of his parish teen club at Corpus Christi, Woodside – a responsibility that included coaching various youth teams. He attended Msgr. McClancy M.H.S., East Elmhurst, and then St. John’s University, Jamaica.

He soon began coaching junior varsity baseball at McClancy while teaching there for 15 years. For the past 17 years, he has coached varsity baseball at Mount St. Michael Academy, the Bronx, while also serving as the dean of discipline.

His teams have won two CHSAA city championship titles. Additionally, he is the chairman and commissioner for CHSAA baseball citywide.

Matt Strong graduated St. John’s Prep, Astoria, in 1961 and then St. John’s University in 1967. He taught at Bishop Reilly H.S., Fresh Meadows, from 1967 to 1974; Christ the King H.S., Middle Village, 1974 to 1981; and the N.Y.C. Department of Education from 1982 to 2011.

He coached soccer at Bishop Reilly from 1967 to 1973, and during that span, his teams won three CHSAA city championships. He continued his high school coaching career at Christ the King and St. John’s Prep before moving to the collegiate ranks.

Strong turned the women’s club soccer team at St. John’s University into an NCAA Division I sport. After nine years there, he coached at the College of Mount St. Vincent, the Bronx, for 10 seasons. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s CHSAA soccer league.

Contact Jim Mancari via email at