CEDAR RAPIDS – Bob Fontana is heading home.
The longtime Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys’ basketball coach told school administrators Friday morning he is leaving at the end of the school year to take over the same position at the new Ankeny Centennial High School. Fontana is an Ankeny native and will be joined on his coaching staff by his brother, Mike.
“It’s not only special to be going home, it’s special to be a part of opening up a new school in your hometown,” Fontana said. “And it’s special to be able to build a program from scratch. It’s not going to be easy.”
Fontana came to Kennedy in 1997 after head coaching stints at Corwith-Wesley-Luverne and Carlisle. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins (228-133 record) and won his 300th career game late this regular season.
He was voted Metro Coach of the Year seven times, including this season, and Mississippi Valley Conference Coach of the Year four times. He took the Cougars to the state tournament three times.
“I’m real proud of what we accomplished here,” Fontana said, thanking Principal Mary Wilczynski and then-Athletics Director Mark Stewart for hiring him. “The administration always let me run the program how I thought it should be run, and I’ve always appreciated that.
“There’s only one regret I have, and that’s that we didn’t win a state championship. That was always the goal.”
Fontana will teach physchology and United States history at Centennial, which will open for the 2013-14 school year.
“While the loss of Coach Bob Fontana is a huge blow to the Kennedy staff and community, we wish him nothing but the best of luck and success in this next endeavor,” Kennedy Athletics Director Aaron Stecker said. “He has been an invaluable member of the Kennedy faculty and coaching staff who has had a remarkable influence on hundreds of Kennedy basketball players and students over the past 16 years.”