What was your relation to Mike Stack?
Mike Stack was my mom's older brother. He and my Uncle John, an Augustinian Priest at Villanova University, had three younger sisters; my mom was the youngest. Back then, your parish dictated where you went to school, so all five of them attended Bonner or Prendie. Uncle Mike was the basketball star in the family; he played for Bonner and Villanova University. He loved Bonner & Prendie.
Uncle Mike was also a great guy. He had a way about him; people just gravitated to him. Uncle Mike was friendly, caring, and one of the funniest guys who loved ripping on people. He loved to push people's buttons. Even when I was a kid, my uncle would set me up and feed me a line to say to someone.
He was married to my Aunt Cecy, and they had one daughter, Kerry, who is now married with three boys of her own. Kerry’s oldest son just graduated high school. The younger two are in middle school and elementary school.
How did your Uncle Mike impact your life?
Uncle Mike had a significant impact on the early part of my life. I followed in his footsteps at Bonner and then Villanova University.
Uncle Mike was very tight with Jay Wright, Villanova University's head men's basketball coach. My Uncle was an involved basketball alumnus at both Bonner and Villanova.
I played basketball for Bonner during my freshman year but stepped away from the team to focus more on football and baseball. When my Uncle Mike became sick in the fall of my junior year, I knew it was time for me to return to the court. While my uncle didn't make it through my junior year, I worked hard to return to basketball for him and made the team my senior year. Bonner basketball meant a lot to him, so it meant a lot to me to make the team again. I had to do it for him.
My Uncle Mike has remained a part of my life, even though he's gone. As a student at Villanova University, I interviewed and got the job of managing the men's basketball team. This experience helped keep my uncle's memory present in my life.
For years, I held onto my Uncle Mike's Villanova jersey from the '70s. It was a gift from my Uncle John when I was a freshman at Bonner. I decided to give it to his grandsons just a few years ago. They never got to meet him, so I thought it was vital for me to give it back to them.
Uncle Mike went back to coach basketball in the 1980s at Bonner and led the team to win the Catholic League Championship. For the past five years, I have served as the assistant coach of the baseball team. It meant everything to coach at Bonner, just like he did.
My Uncle Mike meant a lot to me, and his influence in my life has led me to some of the best decisions I have ever made. He still guides me in many ways. I thank him for that.
What is one of your favorite memories of your uncle?
During my first year at Bonner, my uncle showed up at my basketball game at Cardinal O'Hara. I remember looking up from the court as he walked into the gym. My Uncle Mike was a basketball star, so it meant a lot to me that he came to see me play. He meant a lot to me.
Whenever I get together with his friends, there are stories I've heard 10-15 times over, and, still, a new story emerges. One of my favorite stories is how Uncle Mike would add bricks or rocks to the bottom of friend's golf bags as a member of Whitemarsh Country Club. He was a jokester. They could not figure out why their bag was heavier until they dumped it out.
What does the Mike Stack Golf Outing mean to you?
Time flies. It's been 17 years since my uncle passed away. In that time, I graduated high school and college, got married, and now have three kids. Every year, this golf outing is an opportunity to remember him, but it also hits home at how much he's missed.
I was 17 years old – a junior at Bonner – when he passed away. I'm grateful to serve as a board member for the past five years and play a role in continuing the tradition of the Mike Stack Golf Outing. It would mean a lot to my uncle that we've continued this tradition.
Going to Bonner was an excellent experience for me. It means a lot that the golf outing and scholarship support Bonner & Prendie scholarships. My wife attended Prendie, and we both developed lifelong friendships during our time there – many of those friends were at our wedding. Four of my five siblings attended Bonner or Prendie. Many friends and family shared the same teachers as my Uncle Mike and Uncle John.
How would your uncle feel about the Mike Stack Golf Outing and scholarship?
My Uncle Mike never wanted attention or the spotlight, so he would probably be annoyed at first. After seeing how much good has come from this event, I'm sure he would feel proud because we're giving back to a place that meant so much to him.
Friends and family were important to my uncle. He would feel humbled and honored to see the amount raised and the number of kids we helped in his memory. The fact that so many people continue to come together every year and keep his memory alive this way is fantastic.
The Mike Stack Golf Outing is bigger than my uncle now. It is entirely about Bonner & Prendie students. The event has grown in importance over the years.
We're closing in on awarding 100 scholarships - we're helping young men and women attend Bonner & Prendie. To be able to help relieve the financial burden of 10-15 kids a year is incredible. This event and scholarship open the opportunity of attending Bonner & Prendie to students every year and help to keep them there.
Bonner & Prendie has given many students a chance to go on to college and find their footing in the real world. You can't go anywhere in Delco or even the Jersey shore without finding a connection to Bonner & Prendie. While it is important to me to keep my uncle's name and memory going, it is even more essential to help Bonner & Prendie students. It's all about them now - I know my uncle would agree.