1960s: The Pioneers: Ron Isola ’60

Aidan Murtagh '20 and Zachary Phillips '20, The Crusader Staff

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Ron Isola was both a student and a teacher in his long career at Riordan. He graduated in 1961, but the overwhelming majority of his time at Riordan came as a teacher. He taught for 45 years and coached for many of those years, which has made him an integral part of the school community; he is part of its history.

Isola coached almost his whole time at Riordan, mainly on the basketball court and on the baseball field. His presence is still felt at basketball games, as he is the play-by-play announcer at home games. Having coached and mentored so many athletes, Isola had some great experiences in the process.

He recalls, “Some of my best memories are in the athletic area. While coaching basketball and baseball we took the teams on a number of trips to play in places such as St. Louis High School in Honolulu, Chaminade in West Hills, Pine Bluff in Arkansas, and a number of [trips] to the Anaheim Lions Baseball Tournament. It was a lot of fun for the players and the coaches.”

While he cared about how his athletes performed on the court or field, he most importantly cared about how his students were in day-to-day life. Isola was not only a great coach, but he was a true educator. He wanted his students to become great young men, and he mentored his students to achieve this goal.

He describes, “… as Fr. Tim Kennedy, a former principal, said, ‘Times change…but the dream remains the same’. When the Marianists first came to Riordan 70 years ago, they had the same goals of educating young men as the school does today.”

Using the Marianist values as his basis, Isola educated his students and formed them into great young men. His son Jeff Isola ’98 is also a graduate and teacher, and has been a member of the Social Sciences Department for many years. Isola was and still is a true Crusader. He has been an integral part of the community and invested a great part of life into it. He says, “Such terms as ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Strength in Numbers’ are not just words. You can feel them just by walking through the hallways. Riordan has always been blessed with students who give their all whether it’s in academics, athletics, activities and, most importantly, in helping others.”