Christopher Menick: Harvard Football Hall of Famer and SHS Teacher

Chris+Menick%2C+Harvard+football+legend+and+SHS+math+teacher%2C+participates+in+the+SHS+fall+pep+rally.

Elliott Zhang

Chris Menick, Harvard football legend and SHS math teacher, participates in the SHS fall pep rally.

Ava Schnipper, Writer

As a freshman, I was lucky enough to have Mr. Menick as my geometry teacher. As the year went by, I noticed that he often referenced his college football career. One day, my classmate asked him about a rumor he heard that he was a Hall of Fame Harvard University football player. Mr. Menick hesitated, as he did not want to waste class time discussing his past. However, the class insisted. 

Menick first told us about his parents’ upbringing. His father grew up in Port Chester and was a lover of pop culture in the 1950s. He spent his time playing all kinds of sports, whether it was baseball, basketball, or football. However, Menick’s mother had a vastly different story. His mother and grandmother moved from Cuba to Spain in 1968 after she graduated from Havana University and Fidel Castro took over. After spending a year in Spain, they moved to Port Chester in 1969, as they viewed the town as a location rich in job opportunities. His parents met in Port Chester, and his father attended Boston University.

Menick and his older sister grew up in Port Chester, and from a young age, his father and uncle influenced his love of sports. Menick’s uncle played baseball in high school and during his time at Manhattan College, and his father played football at Boston University. Menick loved all types of sports, but one that always stood out to him was football. He started practicing at the age of ten and loved it immediately. He played with his friends and in the local Port Chester Football League. When he became a student at Iona Prep, he made the varsity football team in 11th grade. He made great friends on the team that would last him a lifetime. One of his favorite memories was playing at the annual “Turkey Bowl” on Thanksgiving against other high schools in the Catholic High School Football League. These schools were located in the five boroughs, Westchester, and Long Island.

When the time came for Menick to start thinking about college, several Ivy League colleges began recruiting him. He had no idea what Ivy League football was like; however, he did know that the Ivy League was known for its academic excellence, which was important to him and his family. Menick got into colleges that were more known for their academics, and other colleges known for athletics. Menick’s top two choices were Harvard University and Princeton University. He decided that his recruitment campus tour would be the deciding factor between the two. On his tour of Harvard in 1996, Menick had a guide that he connected with. (Menick’s tour guide became his best friend and his best man at his wedding.) In addition, his tour guide was a player on the Harvard football team and set the record for the most rushing yards by a Harvard football player. The school stood out to him because everyone he met, especially the players on the football team, struck him as humble, genuine, and passionate, and Menick chose to attend Harvard.

Menick’s football career at Harvard was extremely successful. Not only did he make the team as a freshman, but he also broke his friend’s record for most rushing yards in a season by a Harvard football player, played on the team that won the Ivy League championship, and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player during his sophomore year (1997). 

As his time at Harvard came to a close, he realized he wanted to find a passion in addition to playing football. He tried coaching football at Fordham University for one year; then in 2000, got a job in finance for a year and a half. On the side, Menick tutored high school students. Through his tutoring experiences, he found that he was passionate about teaching math. As a result, he decided to return to graduate school and get his masters in education from Iona College and his bachelor’s degree in math from Saint John’s University. In 2005, Menick started teaching at Iona Prep (the high school he had attended). He got married in 2015 and had two kids. In 2019, after over a decade at Iona Prep, Menick began teaching at Scarsdale High School. 

Menick emphasized how grateful he is to be a teacher at Scarsdale. At the end of our interview, he stated that “you grow by being around people that are on the right track and are doing things the right way.” His family, friends, and students have influenced him never to stop trying and learning from others’ gifts. Menick promised himself a life of hard work to achieve his goals and constantly sought support from teachers along the way. He enjoys his time at SHS because he sees a large amount of support and opportunities for growth for both students and teachers like himself.