San Jose, CA – After an impressive four decades as a coach at Bellarmine College Prep, including 36 seasons as head varsity football coach, Mike Janda announced today that he has retired from coaching the Bells.
During his tenure, Janda has been the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, and the wide receiver/defensive back coach for the Bellarmine varsity football team. Considered one of the most respected and successful coaches in Northern California, and the winningest coach in Central Coast Section (CCS) history, Janda was a recipient of the prestigious California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Model Coach Award for 2012-2013, named 2014 California Coaches Association State Football Coach of the Year, and in 2015 the Cal Hi Sports State Football Coach of the Year, the same year the Bells won the Nor Cal Championship. Under Janda’s direction, the Bells have gone to the State championships three times, won six CCS championships, appeared in 12 CCS finals, and won 14 WCAL championships.
“After 41 years of coaching football (36 years as head coach) at Bellarmine, the time is right for me to step down,” said Janda. “I have been truly blessed, and I would like to thank all the players and coaches that I have had the privilege of working with over the years. I would especially like to thank John Amarillas, Dan Burke and Mike Henry, with whom I have coached for the past 19 years. The memories and friendships that I have made through the years will be with me for the rest of my life.”
With Janda’s retirement from football, a storied chapter in Bellarmine football comes to an end as longtime assistant coaches John Amarillas, Dan Burke, and Mike Henry are also stepping down from their respective roles on the sidelines. Janda will continue teaching Chemistry honors fulltime, Amarillas will continue teaching his five American History courses, and Henry will continue teaching African American Literature and the August Wilson Seminar, as well as in his position as a personal counselor. Janda, Amarillas, Burke, and Henry have a cumulative 116 years of coaching the Bells.
“The greatest privilege and honor I have ever had is coaching with Mike Janda,” noted Amarillas. “It has always been my thought that when Mike decided to step away, I would go with him. We have been working together for 35 years and I cannot imagine coaching this incredible sport without him. Mike not
only set the standard for being a football coach but is the epitome of how all coaches should conduct themselves.”
While Janda has enjoyed an impressive coaching career, his legacy will also be one of service and prayer. The team and coaches have been involved in such community efforts as the Sacred Heart Community Service Pack-a-Back school backpack program and were recognized for their volunteer service at JW House. “Mike Janda and his entire coaching staff have embodied what it means to be ‘men for and with others,’” said Kristina Luscher, Bellarmine principal. “Coach Janda is a man of deep faith and integrity, and I am so appreciative of all he has done for Bellarmine and Bellarmine football.”
Reverend Jerry Wade, S.J., Bellarmine chancellor and varsity football team chaplain, echoed Luscher’s sentiments regarding Janda’s position as a role model for youth. “Mike has been able to combine what Ignatius Loyola held so important in Jesuit educators – that they give themselves wholeheartedly to making a difference for the good in the lives of others – as teachers, coaches, mentors – intellectually, spiritually and physically. These past 41 years, Mike has been teaching five classes of honors chemistry, beginning each class with a short reflection on the life of ‘The Saint of the Day’ while at the same time continuing and expanding Bellarmine’s respected and honored legacy in the sport of football in the state of California. And I especially note that important to Mike, together with his fellow coaches, has been his emphasis on the period of prayer and spiritual reflection in Bellarmine’s Chapel prior to leaving the campus for each and every football game.”
Amarillas summarized the significant imprint Janda has made on students and colleagues, alike. “Mike consistently modeled that the greatest lesson for every player and coach to learn is that we were always going to ‘do it the right way.’ That was more than just the play on the field; it was how we were challenged to be in all things we do. Be it by being respectful of our opponents, serving the less fortunate in our community, or expressing ourselves through prayer, these are the things that mattered. Coaching was so much more than the Friday night game. No doubt, the impact on the young men Mike has coached is profound and will last for generations.”
The school will undertake a search for a new varsity football coaching staff in the coming months.