by Andrew Garda
The sport in Montclair has a rich history, and the different surfaces are no exception.
However, while exploits on the ground were often well covered each week in the newspapers, how the various estates got their names is not as well known to the people of Montclair.
In honor of the city’s 150th anniversary, here’s a look at some of Montclair’s major sports fields and where their names come from.
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Home of the Mounted Police football, women’s lacrosse and track and field teams, Woodman Field is the oldest of Montclair High School’s athletic fields.
Formerly known as Essex Field and located on Essex Avenue, it was inaugurated as Woodman Field on October 31, 1942, in honor of Clarence L. Woodman, former athletic director, football coach and track and field for high school. He was also president of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Woodman was with MHS for over 20 years. After his death, the Board of Education voted unanimously on March 26, 1942 to name the estate in his honor. At the time, he had coached more state championship track teams than all the other New Jersey coaches combined.
The pitch has been improved several times, most recently in 2005 when sod was installed.
Clary Anderson Arena
Home to both Montclair High School and Montclair Kimberley Academy hockey teams, the Clary Anderson Arena was originally a community-built arena that opened in the early 1970s on the Chestnut Street across from the Woodman / Fortunato Field Complex.
It was later named after Clarence Oscar Anderson, better known as Clary, who, along with Butch Fortunato, formed a powerful football coaching duo at Montclair High School. With the exception of a World War II hiatus when Anderson served in the Navy, the two coached the Mounties to a record 209-23-6 before Anderson left in 1969 to coach the team. State College Football Center.
Over seven seasons at MSC, Anderson’s teams were 46-20-3 with five consecutive conference titles from 1969 to 1973. He was also a very successful baseball coach at Montclair State and was eventually inducted. at the MSU Hall of Fame.
Anderson was also a member of the undefeated Colgate University team in 1932, where he was named All-American in 1932 and 1933.
Established and opened in 2005, Fortunato Field, located just south of Woodman Field at the corner of Essex Avenue and Chestnut Street, is home to the Mounties soccer, men’s lacrosse and softball teams.
His namesake, Angelo “Butch” Fortunato, remains one of the greatest coaches in Montclair High School history, but was also a formidable athlete. Fortunato was named to the All-State Football team for two years, then to the All-Metropolitan team as a senior quarterback in 1935. He was then offered a scholarship to Fordham University, where he led the Rams to some of their best years.
Fortunato was on Montclair’s football coaching staff in one form or another from 1940 to 1983, and then served as high school athletic director. He got his start as a mounted police head coach while Anderson served in the Navy, and Fortunato led the team to their first season unbeaten and another with just one loss.
Fortunato took control of the solo soccer team in 1969 and by the time he retired from coaching he was 115-56-7 and led the team to their first ever title. State. He also enjoyed success as a basketball coach for three seasons in the 1950s, including an unbeaten season in 1953-54.
Fortunato Field is currently expected to install new turf in the next offseason.
Anderson Park was home to the Montclair High School boys’ lacrosse team before its current home ground in Fortunato. To this day, Bellevue Avenue and North Mountain Avenue Park remains a training and playing ground for many recreational and youth leagues, including lacrosse, soccer and, most recently, the Ultimate Frisbee. . It is also the site of the annual Montclair Lacrosse Alumni Game and Homer Robinson Day celebration.
Originally, the space was nicknamed Montclair Park and managed by the city, but it was turned over to the Essex County Parks Commission in 1901, with the design completed in 1903. Then, in 1909, the city requested that the name be changed to Anderson Park to honor CW Anderson, the original donor of the land.
As well as being a prominent Montclair, Anderson boasted of having traveled further on the Erie Railroad than any other resident of Montclair, claiming to have covered 289,000 miles in 30 years while spending, according to a New York article. Times in 1912, a whopping $ 3,000.
Van Brunt Field
According to former Montclair Academy athletic director Kimberely and current science professor George Hrab, the MKA football field was named after Ed Van Brunt, professor, administrator and coach of the Montclair Academy from 1934 to 1970. Van Brunt is also a founding member of the MKA Track and Field Hall. of Fame, having been inducted posthumously in 1996.
Named and originally dedicated when Van Brunt retired in the fall of 1969, it was used for football and soccer by the Montclair Academy in the fall, with baseball taking over in the spring. In 1978, lacrosse was added as a varsity sport, while baseball was transferred to Middle School on Valley Road. Features such as new bleachers and turf were added in the 1990s and were used for football, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse.
Known as “Rouge” or “Van,” Van Brunt has coached football, basketball, baseball and track court events. He had been a four-letter athlete at East Orange High School, and he went on to play professional baseball with the Boston Braves. Highlights of his career included a full 11-innings shutout in which he hit a winning homer, as well as Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition match. By 1955, Van Brunt’s baseball team had won 20 straight games and his basketball team had won 32 in a row.
He is an honorary alumnus of the Académie Montclair, and two directories have been devoted to him, in 1947 and in 1970.
The land on which the Immaculate Conception High School football field sits was first acquired by the school in 1940 after it applied to the Montclair School Board for permission to use the “factory. MHS Track and Field Championships, then called Essex Field.
According to a 1940 Montclair Times article, the board of trustees rejected the request, saying the land was already considered too small for the public school alone, let alone for sharing space.
With no other open fields available in the city that met the needs of the school, the administration decided to purchase a “three acre lot … located at the corner of Orange Road and Draper Terrace”. In January 1941, the school purchased additional land that contained the structure that now houses the Lions Pavilion.
The field was officially opened on Sunday May 6, 1941 by the Director of ICHS, the Reverend Eugene Gallagher. Gallagher continued the engagement on the field by throwing the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between Immaculate and Seton Hall Prep.