A Salute to 'Coach 32': Staff Member to Depart

A significant era will end when the current academic year concludes. 

St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) is getting set to bid farewell to its longest-serving faculty member. 

Director of Student Affairs, Frank Trentadue in 2020

“After being at St. Michael's for so many years, I never thought my exit would come as fast as it did,” says Frank Trentadue ’84, Director of Student Affairs, who leaves after 31 years on staff.

“Dedicating much of what I stand for with respect to influencing the lives of young men in the classroom, my office, or the football field, I always thought it would end much later. I will always be grateful to St. Michael's College School and especially the Basilian Fathers,” he says.

“Receiving the Basilian education as a student and delivering it as a professional has shaped my life and it has afforded me the opportunity to help develop and shape the lives of students and athletes with whom I have worked,” adds Trentadue. “There are many things I will miss about St. Michael's. I will miss working with the staff and developing positive relationships with students and athletes. Being a member of the Kerry Blues football coaching staff for 30 of 31 years, I have tremendously missed and will continue to miss my involvement in the Kerry Blues football programme. After 31 years, the thought of moving to other challenges is attractive.”

Trentadue will pack away his double blue attire in favour of the purple and gold of his new home on the west coast.

“I will be moving to British Columbia,” says the married father of four. Trentadue will assume the role of Senior School Assistant Principal at Vancouver College, in September. “My wife and I are looking forward to a new beginning in new surroundings, and all of the natural beauty that this part of the country has to offer.” 

Headshot of Frank Trentadue from 1990 when he began teaching at SMCS.

LASTING MEMORIES

Even with more than three decades of memories at one institution and thousands of lives impacted as a student, teacher, guidance counsellor, administrator, and coach, Trentadue is still able to list the most memorable moments during his tenure.

Student, Class of 1984:

“Fr. Zinger's, CSB, OSM, Grade 9 religion class and his ‘tin of hard candy’ that he offered if you got the right answer or his affectionate tap/slap on the head if you got the wrong answer. As simple as it sounds, it taught me to always be prepared. Preparation is a critical ingredient to any success.”

English teacher from 1989 to 2008:

“The look on students’ faces at the end of the unit on Robertson Davies, Fifth Business, when they finally understood the Jungian undertones of the novel and how they shaped life. Every year and every class, the look was always the same!”

Director of Student Affairs 2017-present:

“The position of Director of Student Affairs was brand new when I undertook this task. The challenge of bringing together three separate and distinct departments and unifying them into one cohesive team was a priority. I can proudly boast that this was achieved. The connecting ‘Student Affairs Commons’ (hallway) is a symbolic mark of this success along with providing a much-needed space for students to congregate, unwind, or do work.”

SMCS Coach and teacher Mr. Frank Trentadue on the field.


Coach from 1990 to 2019:

“If it wasn't for this past year, this would be simple. The opportunity to coach my sons in football and seeing each of them succeed in their own right while proudly graduating as Kerry Blues (Carlo '09, Frank Jr. '12, Elias '18). As a family, we can proudly proclaim KB4L and this gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Tradition Never Graduates’.  However, just as memorable is the friendly exhibition game between this year's class and C.W Jeffery's. Uninvolved in the programme at the time, Coach (John) Walsh ’73, Coach (Mike) Ross ’86 and I answered the call from current graduating players to give them one last opportunity to wear their jersey in competition when their season was taken away from them. Watching their pride as Kerry Blues in a game that was simply staged to create a memory is something I will never forget.”

Most influential person during your entire time at SMCS (as a student and staff member)?

“St. Michael's is about faith, character, and service. It is difficult to identify only one influential person since there have been many. Names like Jack Fenn ’54, OSM, Hugh McDougall, OSM, Joe Younder, Marty Story, and Fr. Rocco Volpe ’48, CSB, OSM are a few of the legendary men of influence who have touched the lives of so many. However, in terms of faith - Fr. Neil Hibberd ’58, CSB, OSM was most influential. He had a gift for seeing talents in people and permitting them to realize their own talents. This influenced me to answer the call to teach.

In terms of character - my dear friend and colleague, Charlie Lewis taught me a sense of personal courage. Courage to take risks even when others might not follow or when others might condemn. Finally, every student and athlete with whom I worked taught me something about himself which in turn taught me about me.”

SMCS Director of Student Affairs and Guidance Assistant meeting in the Student Affairs Office.


Affectionately dubbed ‘Coach 32’ (Trentadue means 32 in Italian), he leaves behind colleagues --- many of whom he has worked with for decades.

Here are some of their reflections, in their own words:

LYNETTE FERNANDES, Guidance Assistant

Define the nature of your working relationship with Frank.

I am his ‘outstanding’ executive assistant (inside joke between him and I) and friend! 

Any particular experience/story come to mind involving you both?

In my first year, at SMCS, working with Frank, he had an unfortunate accident that prompted him to have some hip surgery. We had a gift basket for him and I volunteered to deliver it to the hospital which was on my way home. Unknown to me, the basket was about four feet tall, weighing about 50 pounds and I had to carry it from the parking lot up to his floor. When I got to his room, there were about 10 family members surrounding him and I remember sweating from walking with this large basket in my hands and just wanting to put it down somewhere. Through heavy breathing and sweat running down my face, I tried to smile as the eyes of 10 or so family members were on me. Carlo, his son, graciously took the basket from me commenting how heavy it was, I was quite relieved. They cleared a spot for me to sit down and right away made me feel like I was just part of the family. My sweat cleared and I remember sitting there for long while just talking and mingling with everyone and feeling so welcomed. From that day and many more after that, we just clicked. He became my colleague, my mentor, my therapist (many times) and most importantly, my friend.

Three words you would use to describe him?

Knowledgeable. Giving. Leader.

What has been his impact on SMCS?

A true leader, wonderful and impactful teacher, dedicated coach, and admired mentor.

What will you miss most about him?

His integrity, character, and continuous friendship.

Your reaction to his departure after more than three decades on staff?

Disbelief, but applause and compliment to his new school.  Afterwards, only happiness for him of a well-deserved new position.

What do you believe his legacy will be?

Legacy = #32 ALWAYS

Frank will be remembered for helping students when they needed it most and making them believe in themselves.

What, if anything, has he taught you or have you learned from him?

If you work as a team, you can accomplish anything! Be organized. Always compile procedures, it keeps you on track. Frank made me a better, stronger person for having worked with him for 11 years. In any discussion, he always provides an essential context so that we understand where things start, how it may unfold, and how we need to address it. Nothing is done without thinking it through.  

Anything else you'd like to add?

Even through his many surgeries, he has persevered and always had a pulse on his desk and in the school. He worked endlessly to ensure our department ran smoothly and whenever confronted with issues or questions that he wasn’t able to answer, he would go to the necessary departments for help. He ensured his staff was looked after and if he couldn’t, explained to them the reasons why.

Family has always been #1 and he’s always made me feel like family when I am with him.  He also has an immense sense of empathy and compassion.

Mrs. Sandy Gray, SMCS Head Librarian speaking to a student in the Odette Library.


SANDY GRAY, Head Librarian

Define the nature of your working relationship with Mr. Trentadue.

For my first nine years at SMCS, I knew Frank by reputation as our head football coach and a guidance counsellor. In 2017, Frank assumed the role of Director of Student Affairs, and the library reported to him. I wondered how this alignment would work, approaching our first one-on-one meeting with respect but also trepidation. What a wonderful surprise to discover that Frank taught English for many years, is a highly motivated lifelong learner, and was keen to support the library for the benefit of our students. He is an unfailing student advocate, and our goals for the library's mission and vision under the umbrella of Student Affairs aligned beautifully.

Three words you would use to describe him?

A ‘St. Michael's Man’, in the best and truest sense of that honorific.

What has been his impact on SMCS?

From an athletics standpoint, Frank is well-respected by staff and students, and has an excellent reputation beyond our yellow brick walls as a teacher, coach, guidance counsellor, and colleague. His commitment to the vocation of teaching, coaching, and mentoring students over three decades has resulted in lifelong friendships, and has helped to earn St. Mike's its reputation for excellence. Frank's commitment to helping students discern their best post-secondary options has earned him the respect of both students and parents, as their sons graduate.

What will you miss most about him?

I will miss both his professional support and personal friendship. Frank is forward-thinking, open-minded, direct, and thoughtful --- one of the best bosses I've had in my 40-year career. He can balance gut reaction with research or evidence to help chart the best course to address a challenge. Frank embraces change without sacrificing tradition, and he has a wonderful sense of humour!

Your reaction to his departure after more than three decades on staff?

Frank's departure is a huge loss to SMCS. In challenging times, the leadership of experienced, committed, and forward-thinking individuals is crucial to the future success of our school.

What do you believe his legacy will be?

I believe Frank's legacy is the lasting difference he has made in the lives of students, student-athletes, and colleagues with whom he has worked all these years. It may be tough to quantify, but I've seen the respect in the eyes and demeanour of students and alumni when they meet with Frank, and as a colleague I can testify to the positive and lasting impact Frank's leadership has had on me over the past three years.

What, if anything has he taught you or have you learned from him?

From observing and working with Frank, I have learned the power that true caring can make. In a school, we all have our roles and responsibilities, we understand our accountability, but when we really care about the work we do --- the power to positively influence a person or situation ---that commitment is a spark that goes a long way in education, or in any field of endeavour.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with, and learn from, Frank over the past three years. His care and commitment helped to transition the school library closer to the Learning Commons model that we have envisioned for almost ten years. We truly could not have done that without him!

SMCS Guidance Counsellor, Enzo Carcasole speaking with a student in the Student Affairs Office.


ENZO CARCASOLE, Guidance Counsellor

Define the nature of your working relationship with Mr. Trentadue.

My relationship with Frank as colleagues is spread over two periods. We were colleagues in the English Department for a brief period in the early 2000s. He left the department to join Guidance.

He was teaching Writer's Craft when I produced my first drama at SMCS, ‘The Play's the Thing’. He contributed to this production by having his class write and perform an original scene. He was very supportive of my desire to change things in the English Department.

Three words you would use to describe him?

Dedicated, caring, hard-working!

What has been his impact on SMCS?

Frank's impact has been multi-faceted. He elevated the Senior Kerry Blues football programme to a family, community type programme. He was more interested in creating a ‘football culture’ that was inclusive. Wins and losses were secondary to him. In only three years, he transformed the Guidance Department into a forward-thinking component of our school. In my opinion, he has added to the school's infrastructure!

What will you miss most about him?

I will miss his leadership and sense of humour.

Your reaction to his departure after more than three decades on staff?

I was not surprised by his departure......our loss, Vancouver's gain!

What, if anything has he taught you or have you learned from him?

He has taught me a lot about being a good counsellor. He is a quick-thinker and can size things up very quickly!

Anything else you'd like to add?

I will most certainly miss him. He truly dedicated his career to SMCS!

SMCS Director of Student Affairs, Frank Trentadue with a student at an Athletic Awards Banquet.


MORE RECENT INTERACTIONS

“I have only had the pleasure to work with Frank for the past year and it has been quite a year,” says James McKinnon, Principal at SMCS, who began his role in August 2019.

“In my short time working closely with Frank, I have known him to be a champion of students, always focused on what meets student needs.”

“Frank often speaks of his love for coaching, as he coached in the classrooms, fields, and boardrooms. By definition a ‘coach’ is what is used to move people from where they are to where they want to be,” adds McKinnon. “Frank has dedicated his work to accomplish this. He now takes this love of coaching and being a champion of students to a new challenge, I wish him well in his new adventure as he continues to impact the lives of youth. Thank you, Frank, for your perseverance and commitment to St. Michael's College School.”

“I have had the opportunity to work with, and coach on the same sidelines as Frank for the past couple years. In that short period of time I have learned a tremendous amount under his wing,” says Giuseppe Tropea, faculty member since 2018.

“Frank has shown me that our profession is much more than pedagogy in the classroom or X's & O's on the field. It is about demonstrating care and passion everyday, whilst developing our students to achieve their greatest potential. Frank is much more than a colleague and coach to me. He is a great mentor and an even better friend,” he says.

Having dedicated so much to one institution, Trentadue says this about his legacy at SMCS:

“I would like to think that I approached teaching and coaching with a student/athlete-centred approach. Everything I did was to create a lasting memory for the students/athletes. All the content of the classroom lessons or the fundamentals of playing the game were important but the most important things lie in the life lessons students can take away from the positive experiences of being in the classroom and on the field.”

Coach 32, thank you!

Watch a ‘Special Tribute to Coach 32’ during the 2020 Virtual Athletic Banquet (at 44:34)