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Michael Mangino, 67, St. Anthony's Football Coach, Dies

Deer Park resident spent 35 years at Nassau Health Department and 21 as Friars assistant football coach.

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.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Anthony's High School or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

Brian December 06, 2010 at 04:43 AM
Wow. Just wow. Coach Mangino's passing really caught me off guard. Something I did not think I'd hear for many more years. He was a fixture not just on the sidelines, but on the campus. I can remember being a sophomore at SA playing TE with the JV when he was coaching receivers with the varsity team. He came up to me after one of the JV games to give me some pointers about running routes and looking the ball in. I felt proud to have one of the varsity coaches approach me ... like he really cared. To this day, I teach my son to make "triangles up high and pinkies together down low" to catch the ball. Sad to hear about his passing. Thoughts and prayers to the Mangino family. -Brian Wasson, '92
Mike Mangino December 07, 2010 at 12:40 AM
Wanted to reach out and thank everyone for the thoughtful comments about my Dad. I'm so fortunate to have him as my father and I'll miss him dearly. The huge outpouring at his mass made me realize how many lives my dad has touched over the years. He preached love, kindness and family values and was a teacher and mentor to many. He was tough when he needed to be tough, fair when he needed to be fair but was always compassionate. Although he died young, he was fortunate to see his children grow up, graduate and raise families. He was able to spend time with all of his grandkids and shared 40+ years with the love of his life. In the end, I believe he would say that he had a full life. My only hope now is that my dad can do what he couldn't do in life - I hope he can finally rest. Mike Mangino Class of '89
Sal Randazzese December 07, 2010 at 11:59 AM
Mike grew up in a football family . His dad was a coach in the Lynvet orgainization of Pop Warner Football. At that time there was a senior division. It is with that team that I first met Mike. He was a 5ft 9in, 170lb fullback. yes, full back. He took on people who were 25 lbs heavier every play every day It was not a concern to him. It was his job . That alone speaks volumes of the size of his heart and determination. For the three years that I played with Mike we won two championships and only lost one game. We were basically belly series team who ran the ball 80% of the time and each time Mike lead the play.I am a better person for knowing and playing withMike . He is a mans man. Love you Mike. Sal Randazzese
Emily Mangino April 06, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I cannot thank you all for your kind words and thoughts about my husband Michael Mangino. He was truly a good and loving and caring person. He always tried to do the right thing. When he died he was there with his mother trying to do the right thing by all. We will all miss him dearly. We all have learned so much from him and hope we can carry on as he would want us to. It is going to be very difficult going out on that golf course without him, but I am sure going to try and I know in my heart that he will be there with me helping me move on. As for football I will be a forever Friar Fan. He loved being with the kids on and off the football field, teaching them as much as he could, that was his life and loved every minute of it. As far as football goes he would have been there forever. Go Friars'! Michael I love you and will love you forever, you were my life and I have lost that life forever. May you be shooting below par on the grandest golf course in your world, and no whiffing the ball. Love you always, Em
mike July 19, 2011 at 01:26 AM
RIP mike, we all miss you at the beach!

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