By Coach Andrew Steffey:
Ice Hockey and Mickey Corcoran never crossed paths. Well, maybe a little, (he was, after all, the
The teacher with the student, Hall of Fame Induction.
grandfather of the Bergen County Coaches Assoc.), but he didn’t attend his first hockey game until he was 90 years old. I should know, I took him, November 16, 2012.
There wasn’t a gym in the tri state area that Mickey hadn’t refereed in, coached in or watched a game in. Simply put, he’d been to every single one of them. Including West Points’ Holleder Center (and yes, Mick knew Holly too). Maybe you heard of two legendary coaches that came out of West Point, Coach Knight & Coach K? Mickey knew them. Personally. The list of coaches that Mickey knew, or should I say knew him, is a who’s who and it is more than a few pages and much more than just basketball. In fact, Mickey even knew the legendary West Point Hockey Coach, Jack Riley, “great, great guy,” Mick would say.
But on this evening, Mick, Bobby (Mickey’s longtime friend) and I, walked into Tate Rink and took our seats to watch the Army West Point Hockey Team take on Sacred Heart. And we got treated to a thriller. Army took an early lead only to have Sacred Heart answer back twice, but in the opening minutes of the third period, Army scored the eventual game winner. Mick, was thrilled, turned to me and said, “Andrew, I can’t believe I never came to a hockey game, especially here at West Point, what a great time!”
Couldn’t resist the chocolate!
Undoubtedly, many will write about how Mickey was the link between NJ coaching legends, coached by Lombardi in High School at St. Ceclia in Englewood and the mentor and coach to Bill Parcels at River Dell. Many people knew Mickey, a lot of people. He was a true legend and touched hundreds if not thousands along the way, this was his true legacy. Most coaches now a days don’t even know who Mickey is. And to be honest, up until 2010, I never had either. I’ve always tried to seek out advice from those who have more experience, always wanting to learn something new from someone thats been down that road. In 2010, that opportunity landed in my lap.
Nobody had the seat I had for the last 5 years…from 2010-2013, I was his boss. Well not exactly, but about as much as anyone could be his boss (except his wife Dolores), it was me. Mickey spent 66 years as the starter at Alpine Country Club. In my four years at Alpine I got to spend just about every Saturday & Sunday with him. Many times he would show up during the week too, just to hang out. Alpine was like the locker room to him. The staff, we were like his players. There isn’t a single person up there that doesn’t have a Mickey story, or he didn’t impart some sort of wisdom on. But in many aspects that is where he was most comfortable. He just wanted to be around the action.
Mickey with Coach Belichick at Hall of Fame Induction.
No one can ever take away those 4 years that I got to spend with Mickey. I’ll never forget the time I spent with him and lessons I learned along the way, especially his best line, “Andrew, you’ll learn in this world that there are two types of people…those who get it and those who don’t!” Great wisdom and so true.
I used to tell Mickey that he never had a bad day in his life and he always agreed with me. “Pretty tough to argue that,” he would say. And I always did my best to pull out as many nuggets as I could about coaching, after all the man did have Parcels, Knight, Coach K and a few other notables in his rolodex. But it was Rudyard Kiplings’ poem “If” that Mickey always used to preach, and probably what made him so successful as a coach:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk to wise…If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything thats in it, and which is more, you’ll be a Man my son”
Rest in peace pal.