By Steve Svetovich
He had a passion for athletics, family and advocating for the Dunmore youth.
That’s what Dunmore athletic director Mark Rinaldi was about.
And the Dunmore community lost him much too soon when he died last month at 54 from an apparent heart attack.
Son of Sylvia Pisa Rinaldi and the late John J. Rinaldi, Mark had a lifelong love of sports. He graduated from Dunmore High School in 1981. He was part of a Big 11 title football team as a wide receiver-defensive back in 1978. He helped Dunmore win its first Lynett Memorial Basketball title in 1980 and Lackawanna League Southern Division title in 1981.
After receiving his B.S. in Education from East Stroudsburg University in 1985, he returned to Dunmore and began a long coaching and teaching career. His mentor was Dunmore legendary basketball coach Jack Kelly.
“He and Jack were very close and remained friends throughout the years,” said Michelle Rinaldi (no relation), Dunmore, whose sons Chris and Corey were Dunmore athletes.
“I know all of the student-athletes loved Mark. He would do anything for them. He was not a guy who smiled a lot. He had a serious look. But he had a reputation of always advocating for the student-athlete. I bet if you asked any student-athlete about him, you would hear nothing but positive stories about him. He was extremely well liked.”
A math teacher, Rinaldi served as a volunteer coach for Dunmore’s Eastern Football Conference Class A title team. He served for several years as an assistant football coach.
A tireless worker dedicated to his craft, he became Dunmore’s head basketball coach in 1998-99 succeeding his mentor Jack Kelly. He was previously the assistant under Kelly.
He led Dunmore to a 93-63 record, including three Lynett titles, in six seasons.
During his time at Dunmore, he also served as junior varsity baseball coach and junior varsity track and field coach.
He became the Dunmore High School athletic director after the 2009-10 scholastic year. Again, he succeeded his mentor Jack Kelly.
And in that role, he did everything he could for the student-athlete. No problem was too big to solve.
Very generous with his time, he served over the years as an official clock operator at local football games, as site manager for state playoff events and as a high school and college official.
He made various contributions to the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association and also at the District 2 and PIAA levels. He was past president of the Lackawanna Football Conference, member of the District 2 committee and was chairperson of soccer and lacrosse.
Rinaldi was a strong family man who closely followed the academic and athletic careers of his two sons, John and Mark. John, a three-sport athlete at Dunmore, recently graduated from Binghamton University where he was a key member of the basketball team. Mark, a senior at Dunmore, is an all-star in soccer, football, basketball and track and field.
Rinaldi served Dunmore High School for over 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was dedicated to Dunmore.
His beloved wife, the former Annie Hubshman, also survives.