Archbishop Riordan High School

Archbishop Riordan High School

Infobox Secondary school

name = Archbishop Riordan High School
motto = "Mihi Vivere Christus Est"
website = []
president = Father Thomas French, S.M.
principal = Kevin Asbra
type = Private, Catholic, All-Boys, secondary, Marianist
affiliations = Catholic, Marianist
established = 1949
city = San Francisco
state = California
country = USA
enrollment = 650 (approx)
grades = 9–12
faculty and staff = 80
campus = Urban
mascot = Crusader
colors = Purple, Gold
newspaper = "The Crusader"
yearbook = "Lance"
tv station = KRHS 6

Archbishop Riordan High School is an Archdiocesan, all-boys Catholic high school run by members of the Society of Mary in San Francisco, California. It is located in 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.

Mission statement

Archbishop Riordan High School, an Archdiocesan Catholic High School in the Marianist Tradition, develops the character of young men and instills Christian values in an environment of academic excellence that reflects the cultural diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area.


Archbishop Riordan High School was opened in September 1949 and was entrusted to the direction of the Society of Mary (The Marianists), an international religious congregation of men in the service of the Catholic Church. The society was founded by Father William Joseph Chaminade in 1817 at Bordeaux, France. This society has a unique characteristic in the church. Its members - brothers and priests, teachers and non-teachers - belong to it on a plane of equality; there are differences in function, but none of rank, privilege, or prerogative. Education is the principal work of the society, though a large number of members are in other works of the apostolate such as preaching, parish work, orphanages, missions, and directing lay apostolate groups.

The Marianists were invited to California in 1884 by Archbishop Patrick Riordan. In the summer of 1886, five Marianists from Saint Mary's Stockton began the many years of service in San Francisco. At St. Joseph's Parish, in the downtown district of the city, they began a grammar school for boys. In 1906, the Marianists opened a high school department at Saint James while also conducting Saint James Grammar School in the Mission District. With the increasing demands for another, still larger boys' high school in San Francisco, the Marianists closed the high school department at Saint James in 1949 and moved to the newly constructed Archbishop Riordan High School, a monument to the memory of Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, D.D., second Archbishop of San Francisco, 1884-1914.

The Marianists

The Marianist Organization has remained a guiding force throughout Riordan's existence and follows several specific "Characteristics of Education in the Marianist Tradition." They are:
* Educate for formation in faith.
* Provide an integral quality education.
* Educate in family spirit.
* Educate for service, justice & peace.
* Educate for adaptation & change.


ARHS utilizes an "intensive block" schedule commonly known as the 4x4 schedule. The school year is split into two semesters, Fall and Spring, and students take four courses each semester. Each class lasts eighty minutes, providing time for students and teachers to delve more deeply and actively into topics and activities. This emphasis on depth promotes greater understanding of skills, concepts, and ideas than the traditional fifty-minute period allows.

In addition, the 4x4 allows ARHS students to take eight different ten-credit courses per school year rather than six, as is the norm in traditional school schedules. Therefore, throughout a four-year career ARHS students will be able to take eight more classes than students in schools with traditional schedules. A Riordan student’s academic courseload will not merely fulfill University of California and California State University requirements, it will exceed them, with ample room to spare to sample the expanded elective opportunities available.

One major criticism of the 4x4 schedule is in respect to Advanced Placement courses. Such AP courses taught in the Fall semester would end in December, but students take the actual AP Exam in May. Thus, the student is expected to retain the learned material for five months. In addition, because the AP exam is administered in early May, courses taught in the Spring semester are often cut short by three weeks. Three weeks, while seemingly a short amount of time, is very valuable in the 4x4 block schedule and often forces the instructor to "cram" the material in the weeks approaching the AP exam.

Archbishop Riordan High School offers a variety of Honors and Advanced Placement courses. The AP Calculus class, taught by Mr. Paul Arrigotti, is nationally recognized for its high passing rates and scholastic achievement.

tudent body

The 100% male student population ranges from 650 to 740 at Archbishop Riordan High School. The student body is currently 25% Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 20% Filipino, 10% Chinese, 10% Multi-Ethnic/Other, 7% African American, and 6% other Asian ethnicities. In terms of religious affiliation, 81% of the student body is Catholic. 18% of the student body is a different Christian denomination, and 1% is another non-Christian group. 99% of Archbishop Riordan graduates go on to higher education.


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.

ports history


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 Mr. Edward Fennelly, a then 24-year-old graduate of St. John's High School in Alameda. He coached the basketball and track teams, but would expand his influence on the Riordan teams in the years to come. 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 would coach, teach, and serve as an administrator for 40 years.


During the 1960s, Riordan athletics would blossom into a major force in the Bay Area. Joining the new West Catholic Athletic League in 1967, the Crusaders became 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 of 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 (6 sports). They included: One each in track and cross country, 2 in football and baseball, 3 in basketball, and 4 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 guide of Coach Tom Carroll.

Riordan saw the birth of Camp Crusader, a summer camp for the Riordan athletes of the future. Mr. 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. Participants 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 would become 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 would be 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.

Alma Mater

:Sing from the top of the mountain,:Of Riordan's hallowed name.:Sing through the soft green valley,:Our alma mater's fame.:Our Purple is loyalty,:Our Gold is tried and true!:All hail to Riordan High School,:Hail! Alma Mater.:Hail! Alma Mater.:Hail! All hail, to you!

Note that prior to 1995 Archbishop Riordan did not have a fight song. The band director at the time, Mr. Thompson, decided to use the Alma Mater played faster as the fight song. This is the origin of the "Fight! Fight!" often sung in the middle of the Alma Mater. As written, the Alma Mater does not have this addition has been omitted above.

It should also be noted that following all sports events, the Alma Mater is sung not only by the team, but members of the crowd and especiall Riordan alumni, who are all accompanied by the ARHS pep band. The Alma Mater is always sung with the pointer finger pointing up.

The students always sing the alma mater when approaching the back gates of Riordan from any field trip, retreat, or athletic event.

Notable alumni

* Ralph Briones 1992 - Filmmaker most notable for "Tagumpay". []
* Sal Castaneda - Traffic anchor for KTVU.
* Kevin Estrada - notable Filipino New York poet and founder of Grown Boy Publishing.
* Gus Iversen - writer and president of ILOAN Books. []
* Derek Loville 1986 - former NFL running back for the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and St. Louis Rams.
* Chris Munk 1985 - former NBA player for the Utah Jazz.
* Philip Radiotes - lead singer of Phil and the Osophers.
*Louis Reynaud - 1977 -- Assistant Basketball Coach at Cal.
*Steve Sewell - Former NFL running back for the Denver Broncos.
* Joe Spano - Best known as emmy-nominated actor starring in "Hill Street Blues"
* Donald Strickland 1998 - Former cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers.
* Eric Wright - Football cornerback for the Cleveland Browns, 2007 NFL draft.

External links

* [ Archbishop Riordan High School website]
* [ Society of Mary, United States Province] (The Marianists)

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