Ex-coach McGlinchey dead at 52 He led Salisbury, Frostburg to Division III heights

March 25, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Mike McGlinchey, who coached football teams at Salisbury State and Frostburg State to national prominence in Division III, died yesterday at his home in Salisbury.

He was 52 and had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, for the past eight years with the same fierce determination that had characterized a lifetime spent in athletics.

His most recent position was as head coach at Frostburg State (1992 to 1995), after coaching stints at Salisbury State and Central Connecticut State. At Frostburg, he led the school to its first postseason appearance in 1993, establishing a school record for wins in a season in finishing 10-2. Overall, his school mark was 30-11-2.

He retired after the 1995 season because of failing health.

"He's one of the best persons I've ever been around," assistant coach Paul Barnes said at the time of McGlinchey's retirement. "Everything is positive with him. And he cares about his players more than any coach I've ever been around."

McGlinchey's first head-coaching job was at Salisbury State in 1982, after 10 years as the team's defensive coordinator.

In five years, he compiled a 44-11-1 record (the best mark in the school's 25-year football history), directing the Sea Gulls to the NCAA Division III playoffs three times, reaching the championship game in 1986. That team won the Lambert Cup as the East's top Division III team, and McGlinchey was named national co-Coach of the Year by Football Magazine.

Just as impressive were his accomplishments as head wrestling coach. During a 10-year career, his teams were 113-32-2, including two third-place finishes in the national championships. Along the way, he had six individual national champions and 16 All-Americans.

"He's the reason I'm coaching football," Robb Disbennett said at McGlinchey's retirement. Disbennett is an assistant coach at Salisbury, where he started every game at quarterback during four of McGlinchey's five seasons as head coach. "Next to my parents, he's the most important person in my life."

Disbennett was with him when he first received news of his medical problems in 1989. "He was more concerned about his family than himself," Disbennett said. "He had a great attitude -- nothing he can't beat, no game he can't win."

McGlinchey moved to Division II Central Connecticut after the 1986 season, and in five years went 18-26-3.

He was inducted into the athletics halls of fame at Salisbury and Frostburg, and was named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Hall of Fame.

Born in Richland, Wash., McGlinchey attended Newark High School after a family move to Delaware. A three-sport standout in high school, he continued at the University of Delaware, where he was honored as the school's outstanding senior athlete for his efforts in football, wrestling and baseball.

After graduation, there was a two-year U.S. Army hitch, one year as a teacher/coach at Elkton High School and two years on the Delaware staff before going to Salisbury in 1972.

He is survived by his wife, Marylane, and sons Patrick and Michael. Funeral arrangements were incomplete last night.

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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