Mike “Sid” Hallinan Returns to Dunmore Roots as Baseball Coach

DHS Baseball - Coach HallinanBy Steve Svetovich

Mike “Sid” Hallinan is returning to Dunmore High School.

And this time it is as the new head baseball coach.

Hallinan said the circumstances creating the opening were very unfortunate and sad, but his wife, the former Aubrey Budzyn, encouraged him to apply for the position.

The sudden passing of Dunmore athletic director Mark Rinaldi this past summer led to former Dunmore head baseball coach Mark Finan being named to replace him.

That led to the opening of the head baseball coach position.

“At first I was not sure if I should apply,” said Hallinan. “But then my wife encouraged me. She gave me the ultimate push. I had her blessing. It was an unfortunate situation, with Mark Rinaldi’s passing.

“I didn’t know if I would ever get this shot again. There were only three baseball coaches in Dunmore in the past 40 years, so the position doesn’t come up a lot.

“And I played for all three of those coaches. I played for Lanny Mascucci, Gino Tempesta and Mark Finan. They were all great coaches.

“It’s incredible that I got the job. In the back of my mind, I always wanted to get back to Dunmore when Mark Finan eventually was done. Now I’m back.”

DHS Baseball - Hallinan family

Michael Hallinan is shown with his wife, Aubrey, and the couple’s three daughters Lainey, Adyson and Reese.

Son of Sheila and Sid Hallinan, Sr., Dunmore, the baseball lifer graduated from Dunmore High School in 1999. He was a second team All League shortstop at Dunmore.

He went on to play baseball at Lackawanna College and Wilkes University eventually graduating with a B.S. in criminal justice administration from the University of Phoenix.

He was the team MVP in his sophomore year at Lackawanna.

Following college, Hallinan immediately went into baseball coaching, but took his time learning.

He started as a volunteer baseball coach at Dunmore for three years. He was assistant baseball coach at Scranton Prep for five years. He became Dunmore junior varsity baseball coach for a year and then served two years as an assistant coach under Finan. He was head baseball coach at Riverside High School from 2014 through 2016.

Hallinan, who played four years of both baseball and football at Dunmore, talked about his goals as the new baseball coach.

“First of all, I want to give 100 percent to the job. Coaches Finan, Tempesta and Mascucci all did a great job at Dunmore. Every one of my coaching jobs have been awesome and I am grateful for all the opportunities. But this one is really special. I am really excited.

“My goal is to get people excited and talking about baseball in Dunmore. I want to see a district title here in the future. Dunmore is a baseball rich town. We want to win, but teach kids the right way.

“We want to enhance the baseball program. The previous coaches here taught the kids life lessons. I know, because three of those coaches coached me. I want to carry on that tradition of teaching life lessons. I want the kids to be able to look up to me. “

Hallinan and his wife Aubrey are the proud parents of three girls: Adyson, 8, Reese, 5, and Lainey, 1. Hallinan also has a sister, Kim Coyle. “My three girls and wife are my life,” he said.

“You know, I have to give credit to my dad for my love of the game. Baseball is the greatest game on earth. I was always around baseball as a kid because of my dad. He had me in the yard throwing the ball and pitching to me. He taught me a lot about the game. Those are great memories. Just being around him and his love of baseball had a big impact on me.”

 

Dunmorean of the Month: Mark Rinaldi

rinaldi

IN MEMORIAM: Mark J. Rinaldi, 54, passed away on Monday, July 10, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

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.

bucksA 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.

Letter to the Editor: Remembering Joseph “Scappy” Mecca

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Joseph M. Mecca passed away on March 22 at the Dunmore Health Care Center. He was 70 years old.

Dear Editor,

Mr. Joseph Mecca will be remembered as many things; a teacher, coach, brother, friend, and parishioner. Most Dunmoreans affectionately knew him by his nickname, ‘Scappy.’  Mr. Mecca is from the old school.  He believed that hard work was the key to success and that you could never fail if you gave it your all.  

He lived life the way my parents raised my brothers and me, to treat others the way you want to be treated and show respect even when it is not deserved.  You see, Mr. Mecca did it right.  He did it right in every aspect of his life.  He lived to teach and lived to serve.

Whether in the classroom or on the athletic field, if you watched Scappy go about his business, you couldn’t help emulating his drive and attention to detail.

I remember watching him run down the first base line between every inning; running back to the dugout after the last recorded out.  He was consistent.  He made a point of taking pride in the little things knowing the big things would take care of themselves.

During the best season the Bucks baseball team had while I was in high school, we were playing our rivals and I remember Coach Mecca’s knee was bothering him and it affected the way he ran to the coach’s box down the first baseline.  We could hear the laughs and comments being made by the other team (and fans) as he ran past their dugout, but it didn’t faze Coach Mecca.  

I remember being angry about the disrespect and shallowness of those involved, but then I looked at Scappy and you’d swear they were cheering him on.  You see.  He thrived on it.  The fact that they were teasing him was justification to Coach that he was doing it right.  Running through the pain in his knee was worth it and if his players approached the game with the same attitude, we couldn’t lose.  We couldn’t ask for a better role model and mentor.

In the classroom, Mr. Mecca was a giant.  He taught mathematics with a zest that only the best educators possess.  Anyone who was a student of Mr. Mecca can tell you the story about Quadratic Man.  I bet most of them could probably recite the Quadratic Formula if asked.  

Mr. Mecca brought his teaching to life.  Watching him transform behind his podium was one of the funniest moments of my education, but then watching Mr. Mecca ‘soar’ around the room reciting the quadratic formula was his way of helping us to remember the formula forever; not to mention the pretzels and mustard that accompanied the masked man!

Mr. Mecca always made time for everybody.  He was a staple behind the scorer’s desk doing the clock at basketball games, participating in faculty basketball games and at most school functions.  He lived for all of us and never said no when asked to help.  When I was a sophomore in college, my catcher’s mitt had several laces that broke from use and wear.  I asked Coach to restring it and when I got it back it was better than new.  Twenty three years later the laces are still holding strong.  I true testament to the quality of work Mr. Mecca always did.

Joseph Mecca was a tower of a man.  His presence was always apparent; not because of his stature but because of his persona.  His colleagues respected him, the administrators of DHS appreciated him, and his students rivaled at his knowledge and love for his content.  Mr. Mecca may have passed but the legacy he left will endure through all the lives he touched.  Joseph Mecca was more than a teacher, coach, or colleague. He, like the late Mr. Paul Kelly, will live on through everyone who knew him and the example they set, the knowledge they imparted and the love they had for everything they did in their lives.

Before the Avengers, Dunmore had its own super hero.  He was Quadratic Man.  Rest in peace Mr. Mecca!  You left it better than you found it.   I’m sure you’re sitting with Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio talking baseball and you’re still hustling to your rightful place in the first base coaching box in the sky.

Todd Hartshorn