In bigger cities across America, there are often many people who have went on to accomplish great things. However, in smaller towns, such people tend to go unnoticed. Onofrio “Ono” Monachino Jr., of Laddonia, is one of those that has experienced a great deal of success in his time.
Originally a native of Elba, N.Y., Monachino was recruited to play basketball at Northwest Missouri State Teacher’s College in Maryville. The home of the Bearcats was later renamed Northwest Missouri State University.
As an athlete, Monachino possessed versatility, strength, and a competitive spirit that was quickly noticed by other coaches. While on the track and field team, he was a shot putter and ran with the relay squad. Monachino earned varsity letters in track during his freshman and sophomore years of college.
On the basketball court, Monachino earned a varsity letter all of his four years on the team. He was a true asset to the team by being a tough inside post player that could not only score points, but also get the rebounds. In his senior year of college, he averaged 15 points per game and was named to the all-conference.
On the gridiron, Monachino was known as a tough, no-nonsense guy that played both offense and defense with equal skill, energy, and excellence. On two different occasions, he was named to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) First Team. Monachino held the record for “Most Catches in a Regular Season,” and is also a two-time Associated Press All-American.
“I was fortunate to be blessed with a little bit of talent and a lot of desire,” Monachino said.
Monachino graduated from college with two majors, one in Mathematics and one in Physical Education. Two years after graduation, he married his wife, Nancy, that he had met in Maryville. He later received his Masters Degree from Truman State University in Kirksville, (formerly Northeast Missouri State Teachers College), and then his Specialist degree at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg (formerly Central Missouri State University).
Monachino started his teaching career in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Aside from teaching Mathematics and P.E., he also served as the assistant varsity football and basketball coach, as well as the head baseball coach.
“You’re going all year and you got $100 for all of it. Then I drove the bus every once in a while when the bus driver wasn’t available,” Monachino said.
After three years, Monachino and his family moved on to Colfax, Iowa where he taught and was the head football coach. Monachino also served as a principal in the Estherville, Iowa and Harrisonville, Mo. area school districts. He later served as a superintendant in the Bethany and Mokane school districts. Monachino retired after 41 years of teaching service from the Louisiana School district.
“The Lord has been good to me. He just has put me in the right place at the right time. I give him all the credit. I thank my family for tremendous support. I’m pretty lucky, Monachino said.
Ono and his wife Nancy share five kids, Christina, Candy, Ono (III), Becky, and Ted. All of which have went on to have successful careers of their own.
“If you want to be successful in life, you have to work hard. It just doesn’t happen,” Monachino said.
In October of 2009, Monachino was inducted into the Northwest Missouri State “M” Club Hall of Fame. Monachino currently serves on both the Laddonia City Council and the Volunteer Fire Board.