Obituary: Adolph W. 'Sonny' Santorine
● By Rebecca K. Abma
Coach Santorine shaped the athletic program at MPHS. A celebration of life will be held in May in Allendale. Photo courtesy of the Santorine Family.
Adolph W. “Sonny” Santorine, athletic director, coach and
teacher at Midland Park High School, died Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. He was
89. Coach Santorine was someone who embraced
the challenges of teaching young adults.
He loved teaching and was passionate about coaching.
"Sonny" Santorine, a Newburgh, N.Y., native and an Army Medical Corps veteran of World War II, came to Midland Park in 1955 to teach physical education in the Highland Avenue School and was charged with designing and outfitting the athletic facilities, designing the health, physical education and safety education curriculum at the new school. He was named Director of Athletics and Department Chair when the school opened.
The sport record books of Midland Park High School show
wins and losses but not the human side of Coach Santorine and the impact that
he had on the lives of many students that attended Midland Park High
"There are few people in
the course of life you can really call 'Coach,'" said Jeff Jasper. "Sonny
Santorine was 'Coach.' He was loud, intense and focused and a disciplinarian
with a huge compassionate side," said Jasper, "He'd kick you in the
butt one minute and put his arm around you the next."
Coach also knew how to motivate athletes and be a mentor to young coaches and students who wanted to go into the educational field.
Coach cared about the whole person, he believed in three
core values of spirit, mind and body. Coach
defined these values in his daily life, and he also instilled them in every
student-athlete that ever put on a Midland Park High School athletic
He wanted all students to care about and have pride in themselves, their family and their community. It did not matter to Coach Santorine if you were the star athlete or the person that was last off the bench or were never on one of his teams. When there was a teachable moment, he took the time out to talk to that student or team or physical education class and communicated in a way that everyone could understand. He always encouraged his athletes to train hard, play hard and never give up. In the many tributes and comments on Facebook the underlying theme was that coach effected every ones lives; that he was a classy individual that cared about everyone.
Coach was also an inventor, early in his carrier he found that there was not a system in place for the scheduling of athletics, he developed one that other athletic directors in the area wanted. He later marketed the book and it has evolved into an interactive web site that is being used today.
Coach Santorine is survived by his Loving wife of 55 years Helen, Adolph, Jr., of Wheeling, W.Va., Joseph of Lewisburg, Pa., and Virginia Glazer of Vero Beach; 8 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He is preceded in death by his granddaughter Elizabeth.
Services will be held in Vero Beach, Fla., at the Brennity, 7955 16th Manor, on Dec. 31at 2pm. A celebration of Coach's life will be held in New Jersey on May 17, 2014 at 2pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 55 George St., Allendale.
Coach Santorine played every second of every down of every quarter in the game of life. He left this world to continue the game in heaven!