Michael Mangino, a longtime assistant football coach and former teacher at St. Anthony's High School, died suddenly Friday while visiting family in Naples, Fla. He was 67.
Mangino, of Deer Park, worked at the Nassau County Health Department for 35 years. But sports was always a passion. You could find him on a golf course or football field most of the year.
He started coaching football at St. Anthony's with the freshman team in 1990. He also once served as head freshman boys lacrosse coach. Mangino coached the wide receivers this fall for the varsity football team, which with a Catholic league title on Nov. 20.
"One of the things he always told his guys was, 'If you don't block, you can't play here," St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert said. "Everyone wants to catch the ball. But you don't block you're not going to play. That's one of the reasons we're so good. Our receivers really took that to heart."
St. Anthony's will hold a memorial mass for Mangino on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the school chapel. It will be followed by a reception in the cafeteria.
Mangino's connection to the South Huntington school began with the oldest of his three children. Debra Mangino-Freeman attended Holy Family, which became St. Anthony's in 1984. All three children eventually attended St. Anthony's.
"I have real good memories. My dad taught me to play football," said Michael Mangino III, 39, who works in finance in San Francisco. "He taught me how to throw, catch and hold the ball. How to take a handoff."
Mangino coached his son in youth football. And while his son played football at St. Anthony's, he graduated in 1989 before the elder Mangino began his coaching tenure at the school.
After retiring from the health department, Mangino took up a second act as a health and physical education teacher at St. Anthony's. He stepped down after seven years in June 2009, according to Reichert.
"He wanted to play golf," joked St. Anthony's athletic director Don Buckley.
"He'd always say, 'My next job is going to be as a professional golfer,'" wife Emily Mangino said. "He would golf every day if he could."
But Mangino remained a coach and fixture on the sideline at football games. He was a member of the CHSFL Board of Governors. The connection runs so deep, his wife now works as a secretary at the school.
A third generation may soon continue the family legacy. Debra Mangino-Freeman's daughter, Jillian, 11, wants to play girls lacrosse for the Friars.
"St. Anthony's meant everything to him," said Mangino-Freeman, herself a 1985 St. Anthony's graduate. "He loved what the school represents."
Mangino grew up in Queens, attended Molloy High School and C.W. Post University. Mangino and his wife were close friends since they were 13, she said. They married on July 4, 1965, just weeks after he graduated college.
Michael William Mangino Jr. is survived by his wife, Emily; children Debra Mangino-Freeman, Michael Mangino III, Kerry Mangino-Hughes; along with several grandchildren.