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D. Michael "Mickey" Briglia

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A popular and respected college professor athletic director and coach died on Tuesday succumbing to the effects of pulmonary fibrosis a degenerative condition diagnosed over three years ago. A long time resident of Cherry Hill NJ he was 76.
Mickey had an innate talent for baseball and a love of education that resulted in a 32-year career and a high degree of success in both fields. He was the athletic director at Rowan University (then Glassboro State College) for 25 years until his retirement in 1988. A May 2005 Courier-Post article entitled 'Briglia laid groundwork for Rowan's success' profiled his tenure at the school: 'He not only started the physical education department' wrote reporter Don Benevento 'but presided over an intercollegiate program that ballooned to 23 teams by the time of his departure.'
Mickey was a professor in health and physical education and coached golf and tennis when he arrived at Rowan in 1956. He helped Coach Dick Wacker resurrect the football team in 1963 and was named baseball coach in 1964.
Clearly Mickey had an 'expertise' for baseball coaching the Profs for 25 seasons and had 13 seasons with 20 or more wins many against Division I schools. His record was 502-258-9 his teams won eight New Jersey Athletic Conference championships and he guided teams to five NAIA tournament appearances and seven NCAA Division III tournaments winning the school's first NCAA Division III championship in 1978 and repeating the feat in 1979. He was named national coach of the year in 1979 and was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1989.
Under his leadership twenty-six players signed professional contracts. But he was most proud that so many of his players went on to become accomplished educators and coaches in schools throughout the state. ' I had the privilege of working with great students' said Mickey in a recent Rowan Magazine article 'They served as excellent representatives of the college and I'm thankful for that.'
He was inducted into the Rowan Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Dr. Michael Briglia Scholar Athlete Award is annually given to a Rowan senior male athlete who possesses skill attitude and dedication to athletics.
Mickey grew up in Yorkville Ohio and graduated from Ohio University in 1950 with a B.A. in education after earning All-Mid American honors as third baseman and co-captain of the Bobcat baseball team his senior year. In 1980 he received a Distinguished Service Award from his alma mater.
After serving as a second lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War he came east to teach at Cherry Hill West (then Delaware Township High School) and work on his doctorate at Temple University which he received in 1968.
After retiring from Rowan Mickey worked as a mortgage broker and training specialist for three firms most recently Colonial Home Mortgage of Cherry Hill and Ocean City NJ.
Mickey was married for more than 50 years to college sweetheart Constance ('Connie') Briglia who passed away on March 25 2004 of lung cancer. He is survived by three sons Joseph of Cherry Hill Jesse (Gina) of Ocean City and Northfield NJ and Michael (Beth) of Kimberton PA and seven grandchildren Conner Reid Katie Ryan Jesse Gianna and Andrew. Mickey is also survived by his wife's uncle Frank Paparone and his wife Anne of Ambler PA. Mickey was the son of Guiseppe and Teresa Briglia (both deceased) formerly of Yorkville OH and Seminole FLA.
A summer resident of Ocean City NJ for many years Mickey and wife Connie loved the shore and each July were known for hosting the most creative themed 'Night in Venice' parties.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the viewing at 6-9pm on January 6th at BOCCO FUNERAL HOME 1300 N. Kings Highway in Cherry Hill NJ. The Funeral Mass will follow on January 7th at 10AM at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church on Kresson Road in Cherry Hill. Mickey will be entombed at the Calvary Cemetery and Chapel Mausoleum in Cherry Hill NJ. Relatives and friends may also call on the morning of January 7th from 8:30-9:30AM at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers contributions in Mickey and Connie's memory may be made to the following foundation whose purpose will be to endow scholarship awards to New Jersey high school students demonstrating athletic performing arts and/or academic excellence.
Constance and D. Michael Briglia Memorial Foundation c/o Chester County Community Foundation 28 West Market Street West Chester PA 19382

Published in Courier-Post on Jan. 5, 2006
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