Posted by Stephen Hoesel on Sep 09, 2019
Jesse Montalto was the guest of Rotary on Monday to discuss his brief tenure with the ICCC Football Program.  Jesse is a West Palm Beach Florida native who cane to Upper Iowa in 2004 to play football.  In four years he excelled as one of the schools' leading receivers with 178 catches for 2,621 yards.  Upon graduation his talents were recognized as he became a position coach at Upper Iowa, a school that he remained at for nine years.  Within two years he became a Coordinator for the team.   From Upper Iowa he moved to Ellsworth Junior College in Iowa Falls where he had some success.  After a subsequent move to ICCC his initial team last year became successful with an 8-4 campaign.  This year they have begun 2-1 with hopes of another fine season and ending bowl game. 
Jesse outlined the steps to turn-around the ICCC program from a 1-25 past after joining with eight Kansas JC teams that are historically good and near the top of the National Charts:
  • Securing the help of excellent coaches - A number of his staff were with him at Ellsworth;
  • Hiring Assistant Coaches that eventually want to move up in the coaching arena;
  • Recruiting athletes that are also good kids and good students;
  • Getting the team to "buy into" the system and a culture of success;
Some additional notes during discussion:
  • Observing body language during the initial meeting with ICCC team members was a eye opening experience.  He said he told everybody to empty the room and return when attitude had been adjusted and body language improved;
  • His staff concentrates on Iowa kids, with 70 of the current 110 team members being from Iowa;
  • His recruitment target is 4 hours drive time from Fort Dodge;
  • It is important to maintain contacts with Division I coaches who will channel athletes to ICCC who can not make the grade, or need another year or two of experience to participate on the Division I level;
  • Last year 40 kids moved from JC to Division I (15) and Division II/III (25).  Most of those athletes are contributing on their new teams;
  • This year will be tough because 8 of the 12 teams to be played are ranked in the National Polls.