John Monical, a longtime Pequot Lakes Schools sports coach and hall of fame inductee, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Monical taught math, directed athletics and coached numerous sports at Pequot Lakes High School. He was involved with the schools for 34 years, from 1963-97.
Over the years, Monical was junior high football and basketball coach, varsity basketball coach, assistant football coach, head football coach and track coach.
At one time Monical took on many roles at once. He was football coach in the fall, basketball coach in the winter and track coach in the spring, aside from his duties as teacher and athletic director, said Dave Guenther, track coach and art teacher at Pequot Lakes High School.
Guenther was assistant track coach to Monical for many years. Perhaps his favorite activity, Monical coached track for 31 seasons.
“I learned so much from him,” Guenther said. “I know I picked up a lot of very practical coaching ideas from him.”
Guenther called Monical a “walking calculator” and very smart. He recalled a time when Monical caught a scoring error from an announcement over the loudspeaker.
“Nobody would have even noticed that,” Guenther said.
Monical was not only a good mathematician, but a good teacher, Guenther said.
“He could even make an art teacher understand math,” Guenther said with a laugh.
Guenther said that even after he was no longer coach, Monical would come back to watch meets and wish the team good luck.
Wayne “Wheaties” Wallin, sports enthusiast and longtime sports writer, remembers Monical as a good friend and coach.
“He liked to have people work hard, and help them be successful,” Wallin said.
Monical was inducted into the Pequot Lakes Hall of Fame in 1994 for his work as coach. He was also Park Region Conference coach of the year from 1991-96, and his 1969-70 basketball team was the subdistrict 24 champion.
He lettered in four sports throughout high school, which he attended at New York Mills.
“He touched a lot of lives,” Guenther said.