Maryland House of Delegates Recognizes Cantello With Proclamation
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Al Cantello, a long time Navy head men’s cross country coach, was honored with a proclamation by Speaker of the House Michael E. Bush of the Maryland House of Delegates on Monday. The proclamation recognizes Cantello for an extraordinary coaching career, one that includes his Navy teams beating Army 48 times as a head coach.
“The longer you live, the more honors you accumulate,” Cantello said. “I have known the speaker [Michael Bush] since he was in high school. He is a credit to the community and accepting this proclamation from him makes it doubly significant.”
Cantello, a 1955 La Salle graduate, has spent over a half century at the Naval Academy and has served as the head coach of the men’s cross country team for the last 48 years. Over the course of his tenure, Cantello’s teams have beaten the archrival Black Knights 36 times in cross country and 12 times in track and field with him as the head coach (1981-1988). Cantello also has guided the Mids to seven Patriot League titles in the last eight seasons. Including his years as an assistant coach for the track and field team (1968-1980, 1989-pres.), he has accrued 96 wins versus Army.
“Speaker Bush’s acknowledgement of Coach Cantello this morning was both enthusiastically and emotionally received by a full House chamber,” Naval Academy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said. “The room was in awe of the legacy he has established at Navy. The appreciation we all have for him is reflected in our respect and admiration for one of the finest coaches, gentlemen and educators to ever benefit our midshipman and our academy.”
Cantello has coached several standout runners in Annapolis in both cross country and as an assistant coach with the Navy track team. Most recently, current senior Stephen Schroeder won the 2014 Patriot League individual title and qualified for that year’s NCAA Championship. Andrew Hanko, class of 2010, became the first runner in program history to win consecutive Patriot League cross country titles (2009, ’10). The three-time First-Team All-Patriot League honoree, also qualified for the 2010 NCAA Championship.
Additionally, Jon Clemens received All-America honors during the 1996 cross country season, while John Mentzer was named a 1997 All-American in both indoor (5,000 meters) and outdoor (10,000 meters) track. Michael Ryan earned similar honors during the 1999 indoor track season for his 4:01.57 time in the mile, and Erik Schmidt took fifth place in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championship in March 2003.
Cantello continued his winning ways in cross country this season, defeating Army with a perfect score of 15-50 and then guiding Navy to its third-straight league title. As an assistant coach for the track team this year, Cantello has helped lead Navy to its fifth-straight season sweep (indoor and outdoor) of Army and fourth-consecutive indoor league title.