Published: June 23, 2014
In four seasons at Air Academy, Bernie Moncallo won more than 70 percent of his games, led the Kadets to the 4A state championship baseball game in 2012 and into the postseason every year.
When his contract wasn't renewed after this past season, the former Cheyenne Mountain and minor league baseball coach didn't last long on the free-agent market.
Now wearing a lighter shade of blue with Vista Ridge, Moncallo looks forward to a fresh start, limitless potential and fewer headaches off the field.
"It's time to move forward," Moncallo said. "I had some philosophical disagreements with administration, and some of the parents were way out of line. It'll take a while to get things going at Vista Ridge, but I've done it at Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy. I think we can do it out there, and there seems to be less politics than the last two districts I've been in."
Air Academy athletic director Diane Shuck was unavailable for comment.
Moncallo took the reins at Cheyenne Mountain in 2007 and guided the Indians to the 4A state championship in 2009. Following a year away in Maryland, he returned to the region at Air Academy.
In seven seasons in Colorado, Moncallo has a sterling 113-45-1 record.
He inherits a Wolves team that hasn't won more than five games in a season since the program started in 2009 and becomes the fifth coach in as many seasons.
After Sam Baldwin recently transitioned from baseball coach to athletic director, it created a vacancy. So imagine his surprise when learning about Moncallo's availability, and his ability to reel in a big fish to a program that needs a bump and much-needed stability.
"It's awesome how things worked out," Baldwin said. "He's obviously a great guy in the community and has done a lot for the Colorado Springs baseball community. We're excited to have him, and the sky's the limit for our baseball program. With Bernie being in charge and taking things over, he'll put together a great staff. He'll coach and develop our kids at Vista Ridge and hopefully put ourselves in contention for many years to come."
While Moncallo chose not to shed light on his ouster, he did relate to the situation encountered by close friend Dave Meisinger, who was fired in January after 15 years as Kadets hockey coach.
"A lot of what happened with Dave was wrong," Moncallo said. "He had no support. With one-year contracts, you have a bad year or things don't work out, and you're at the mercy of that. I'm just looking ahead now. There's a lot of potential at Vista Ridge, and the population is building up that way."