Artesia High Dismisses Veteran Football Coach

Times Staff Writer

Veteran Coach Bill Montgomery has been dismissed as the head football coach at Artesia High School, though he will remain at the school as a teacher.

“We felt it was time for a change,” said Vice Principal Joseph Quarles, who was a member of an administrative advisory committee that prepared a five-point critique of Montgomery for Principal Mara Clisby.

In it, Montgomery was criticized for failure to keep in touch with players after the season had ended, a poor turnout for spring football, an inadequate amount of time spent on summer workouts, inconsistency in “program philosophy and goals” in lower-division teams and for poor budgetary record-keeping.

In a letter to Montgomery, Clisby cited “a strong philosophical difference between Mr. Montgomery regarding the definition of discipline,” as the prime reason for his removal. “The administration has felt that the expectations for the football players were not set high enough, that the program as it exists did not require or produce the kind of self-discipline that facilitates a winning program and a winning attitude,” she said in the letter.


“It’s phony--their reasons for doing it,” Montgomery said. “All that stuff--I have rebuked most of it,” he said. “But I can’t fight it if she (Clisby) wants it.”

Clisby was unavailable for comment.

Montgomery began teaching at Artesia in 1964. He spent two years at Dominguez High School in 1966-68, then returned to Artesia. He took over the Pioneers’ football program in 1971 and recorded his first winning season in 1977 (7-4). His best record came in 1981 when the school was 9-2.

In a letter of reply to Clisby, Montgomery attempted to refute the charges. In addition, he said, he objected to the manner in which he was informed of the decision to fire him.