Archbishop Riordan High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archbishop Riordan High School
Archbishop Riordan High School (logo).gif
175 Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, California 94112
United States
Coordinates 37°43′40″N 122°27′11″W / 37.72778°N 122.45306°W / 37.72778; -122.45306Coordinates: 37°43′40″N 122°27′11″W / 37.72778°N 122.45306°W / 37.72778; -122.45306
Type Private, all-male
Motto Mihi Vivere Christus Est
(For Me to Live Is Christ.)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Established 1949 (as St. James, 1906)
President Joseph Conti
Dean Juan Zumbado
Principal Vittorio Anastasio
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 710
Campus Urban
Color(s) Purple and gold         
Athletics conference West Catholic Athletic League
Team name Crusaders
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[1]
Average SAT scores Class of 2016: 1810
Average ACT scores Class of 2016: 27.8
Publication Future
Newspaper The Crusader
Yearbook Lance
Tuition $17,410
Dean of Curriculum Michael O'Brien
Director of Admissions Danny Curtin
The Marianist Organization

Archbishop Riordan High School is a diocesan, all-boys Catholic high school established by the Society of Mary in San Francisco, California. It is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Originally called Riordan High School, the school was named after Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, the second Archbishop of San Francisco, and opened in the fall of 1949. In 1990, "Archbishop" was officially added to the school's name. The school is known for its historically successful basketball, wrestling, track and field, football, marching band, concert band, and theatre programs.

Mission statement[edit]

"Archbishop Riordan High School, an Archdiocesan Catholic High School in the Marianist tradition, prepares young men for leadership and lifelong success through its college preparatory curriculum, its co-curricular opportunities, its emphasis on formation in faith, and its dedication to community service and justice. In an atmosphere of diversity and a strong family environment, Archbishop Riordan fosters development in faith, character, academics, technology, athletics, and the arts."[2]

The Marianists[edit]

The Marianist Organization has remained a guiding force throughout Riordan's existence and follows several specific "Characteristics of Education in the Marianist Tradition":

  • Educate for formation in faith
  • Provide an integral, quality education
  • Educate in family spirit
  • Educate for service, justice and peace
  • Educate for adaptation & change


Archbishop Riordan High School utilizes an "intensive block" schedule commonly known as the 4 x 4 schedule. The school year is split into two semesters, the fall and spring, and students take four courses each semester. Each class lasts 80 minutes, thus providing time for students and teachers to delve more deeply and actively into topics and activities. This e promotes greater understanding of skills, concepts, and ideas than the traditional 50-minute period allows. Rather than depend on the traditional lecture to present material, Riordan teachers encourage active participation of students in their own learning.

In addition, the 4 x 4 allows Riordan students to take eight different 10-credit courses per school year rather than six. Over a four-year career Riordan students are able to take eight more classes than students in schools with traditional schedules. Certain requirements have increased slightly in order to bolster academic areas of interest, while the program's elective offerings have greatly expanded and provide a variety of avenues for students to follow as they explore their world.

Archbishop Riordan High School offers a variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement offerings include:

Archbishop Riordan is the home to four AP exam readers (Christopher Fern - World History; Robert Dalton - English Language; Jeff Isola - US Government and US History; Michael O'Brien - Environmental Science). As of 2015, 426 AP tests were administered to 218 students, with 67% of those scores qualifying for college credit.

Recent college acceptances include Stanford, University of Notre Dame, UC Berkeley, NYU, USC, Brown University, UCLA, Cornell and Dartmouth College.

1:1 iPad program[edit]

Archbishop Riordan began its 1:1 iPad program in 2012. Many students were expected to buy an iPad and the required apps for the school year. The school was finally able to adapt to this new technology during the second semester, and it was used to its full potential. Many teachers now receive work from students via email, whereas reading assignments and homework assignments can be seen by both students and teacher through iTunes U. All students are use this technology to supplement the learning experience. Every area of the school has internet for students to use.

Student body[edit]

The 100% male student population ranges from 690 to 710. The student body is currently 25% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 15% Filipino, 10% Chinese, 13% multi-ethnic/other, 5% African American, and 6% other Asian ethnicities. 81% of the student body is Catholic. 18% of the student body is a different Christian denomination, and 1% is another non-Christian group.

Student life and campus ministry[edit]

A Riordan student is required to complete 100 community service hours before graduation. Four retreats are offered to students, with Kairos Retreats in the fall, winter, and spring. These aim to help students have a better understanding of the natural world and society. Each incoming freshman is given a Crusader Brother, either a senior, junior, or sophomore, that will guide him during the freshman year. Sophomores and juniors have the chance to have an overnight retreat twice per year. Annual drives are held, such as the "Every Penny Counts" campaign for AIDS patients, the International Drive to support Our Lady of Nazareth, Nairobi, Kenya M. Primary School, and the Blood Drives. Archbishop Riordan is number one in the Bay Area in donating blood.

Not only does the school help the community, but it also enriches students' characters. There are 34 clubs at Riordan, and at least two out of three students join a club. Counselors are also committed to help the student in his everyday life. The school strongly advises students to participate in activities, avoiding being a "2:35er". Freshmen are required to fulfill a Freshman Marianist Requirement of earning 7 points in order to pass their freshman year. Actions include commitment to a sport, club, or having a 3.0 or better unweighted GPA.

Marching and concert bands[edit]

Riordan is the only high school in San Francisco to have its own marching band. The band is under the direction of Kyle Hildebrant. The program consists of marching, concert, jazz, and pep bands. At Riordan, the majority of musicians pick up their new instruments in their freshman year while enrolled in the Instrumental Music Ensemble (Beginning Band). They move into the Intermediate Band as sophomores and join the marching band in the second semester and their junior and senior years. The band program is one of the few high school music programs that starts students with no musical experience.

The band competes in the Northern California Band Association (NCBA) along with many other bands from all over the Bay Area. It competes in the small schools division (Class D or E) and is one of the biggest bands in its division, with around 90 members. The band appears in every San Francisco city parade (Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Chinese New Year, and St. Patrick's Day) and is a consistent winner in these parades. In 2010, the band was invited to perform as part of the San Francisco Giants Victory Parade down Market Street following their first ever World Series Championship, and has performed in each one since.

The school also has a lively Pep Band that is well known at WCAL sporting events, a Jazz Combo that regularly participates in California Musical Educators competitions, a drumline that has grown in size and stature under the direction of Mr. Hildebrandt, and a Color Guard team, featuring girls from Mercy SF and ICA, two local high schools that perform with the band during parades. The band travels each year and visited Disneyland in 2009, 2011, and 2015. There are 160 students in the band program, averaging to nearly one out of every four students being in the band program.


The school's theater program has always been successful. Early in the history of theater productions at Riordan, the plays were given national attention. To this day two productions are made year-round, such as a version of The Breakfast Club or the production Romeo and Harriett. Those involved in the theater production regularly do community service along with working on the stage or other elements of the play.


The Riordan Crusaders field a variety of team and individual sports in the West Catholic Athletic League (WCAL), one of the most highly competitive leagues in California. Sports that Riordan fields include football, cross-country, wrestling, basketball, soccer, track, tennis, baseball, and golf. Riordan's most notable championship seasons include a WCAL Championship in football in 2000 and a 2007 Division II CCS championship, a CIF State Championship in basketball in 2002, a WCAL championship in track in 2004, a CCS title in track in 2005, and a Division III CCS championship in basketball in 2006 and in 2007. The school has accomplished many in their short history in the CCS. Many athletes have gone on to perform at the next level.

Tyrone McGraw, '06, in a football game for the Crusaders against Burlingame


Riordan athletics began in the 1950s, a time when many high schools, both public and private, were rapidly expanding due to the Baby Boom. Participating in the newly created Catholic League for high schools around San Francisco, the Crusaders experienced immediate success in a multitude of areas. The student body enthusiastically supported the program, as Riordan fielded new sports every few years. Notable events of the decade include the first football game at Riordan (September 18, 1951), the first homecoming night rally (November 10, 1955), the Riordan versus St. Ignatius College Preparatory football game at Seals Stadium (November 3, 1956), the Faculty versus Seniors basketball game (April 4, 1957), and the Block Society's sponsoring of Fight Night, which featured eight boxing matches as well as wrestling and judo (March 28, 1958).

Sports at Riordan were initially shaped by Edward Fennelly, a then 24-year-old graduate of St. Joseph's High School in Alameda. He coached the basketball and track teams, and expanded his influence on the Riordan teams in the following years. To many he is a symbol of the origins and development of Riordan, and to thousands of alumni was the epitome of sportsmanship and gentlemanly behavior. He coached, taught, and served as an administrator for 40 years.


During the 1960s, Riordan athletics blossomed into a major force in the Bay Area. Joining the new West Catholic Athletic League in 1967, the Crusaders were successful in a number of athletic endeavors. The victory bell was introduced, which still resides in the junior hallway of the school. It was put to good use, as basketball won varsity championships in '60, '68, and '69; cross country won championships in '65, '66, '68, and '69); football in '66; and track in '67 and '68.

As the CAL divided, and Riordan joined the WCAL, Ed Fennelly became commissioner. This coincided with the 1966 football team's dramatic championship win against league powerhouse Bellarmine. Under "Doc" Erskine, the Crusaders battled the Bellarmine Bells under the lights of Kezar Stadium to come out on top, 13-10. In their exuberance after the game, students tore down the goalposts at Kezar, fashioning trophies from the wood. These trophies, signed by the team, reside in the Crusader Forum today, memorializing their legendary upset for the first WCAL championship.


The '70s saw the most varsity championships (13 in all) and the greatest varsity record (six sports). They included one each in track and cross country, two in football and baseball, three in basketball, and four in soccer. Soccer soared at Riordan during this decade. The varsity won four consecutive WCAL titles and the Central Coast Section championship in 1976. Never before or since has soccer reached the same heights, but during those years achievement came from talent, enthusiasm, and hard work under the guidance of Coach Tom Carroll.

Riordan saw the birth of Camp Crusader, a summer camp for future Riordan athletes. Ron Isola inaugurated the camp in 1974 for boys in 4th through 8th grades. Consisting of two three-week sessions, hundreds of youngsters swarmed to Riordan. Original organized leagues included baseball, football, soccer, basketball, pee-wee golf, tennis, track, field hockey, tumbling, wrestling, and bowling. Each participant received a camp polo shirt and a trip to see the Giants at Candlestick Park.


By 1980, Riordan had established itself as a Bay Area powerhouse in a variety of sports, but had yet to create an athletic niche, an area that would unquestionably be the territory of the Crusaders. Under the direction of Coach Ron Isola, Riordan became a basketball juggernaut, winning six straight championships from 1985 to 1990. A legend in his own time, Isola ushered in an era of Riordan dominance in basketball, going to sectional and state championships several times.

Another feature of the '80s was the wrestling program. Started in 1979 under Coach Steve Swanson, the sport caught fire among the student body, and matches were a highlight of the week. Although the Crusaders never won a championship, Swanson guided ten individual league champion wrestlers and six CCS placers. Among these was Adam Cohen, two-time CCS champion and an eventual NCAA finalist at Arizona State University. Wrestlers competed abroad as well, carrying the Crusader banner to Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Russia.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Fagan, Gary (April 21, 2017). "Gary Thomas, prosecutor paralyzed in 1970 courthouse shootout, dies". SFGate. San Francisco. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 

External links[edit]