Remembering Mikey


Mike Droogan

A memorial to the life of a little Friar with a big heart.

Alumnus Michael “Mikey” McGinley ’11 passed away the night of the NCAA Basketball National Semi-Final after a night with his friends.

As the saying goes, it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, rather, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. What Mikey, 22, lacked in size, he made up for with a tenacious desire and a huge heart.

Despite standing at only 5’7” and maybe 130 lbs, Mikey was a force to be reckoned with in the pool. He still holds the record in water polo for career blocks and steals.

“We’d be playing 10-12 ft deep pools and refs would call him for jumping off the bottom,” Water Polo Coach Jay Schiller said. “How does a kid his size even get close to the bottom? He just had incredible leg strength and played a lot bigger than he was.”

Outside of the pool Mikey was a quiet, unassuming, polite person, who always had a knack for identifying a problem and quietly fixing it without looking for recognition, long-time neighbor and School Nurse Mrs. Kit McGettigan said.

“One time our basement flooded when my husband and I were away and our daughter was the only one home,” McGettigan said. “Mikey and the rest of his family worked for 3 to 4 hours that day to get all the water out. When I told Mikey’s school what he did, the principal told me she wasn’t surprised because that’s just the type of kid Mikey is and the type of family they are”

Schiller said Mikey always had the ability to energize a room and a unique ability to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

“He was always upbeat and positive and if he wasn’t upbeat and positive he was sleeping,” Schiller said with a smile. “One of the things that used to drive teachers nuts was he had an incredible knack of falling asleep in class, but when he was awake he was lively, and a kid that never had a bad day.”

Mikey was also a kid who loved being on the beach. He worked for Sea Isle Beach Patrol his junior and senior year and then worked for Avalon Beach Patrol after he graduated. He was always the star of the McGinley’s annual Thanksgiving football game down at their house in Sea Isle, Schiller said.

“Since he had so little body fat, he really hated the cold and hated winter. He loved going down to the beach every summer,” Schiller said.

In addition to water polo, McGinley also swam, wrestled, and played on Malvern’s rugby team. He always had a willingness to get involved as an athlete.

“When Mikey wasn’t swimming junior year I was initially upset,” Schiller said. “But then I found out he wasn’t swimming because he wanted to wrestle to honor his dad who wrestled. He figured since, ‘my dad was a high school wrestler I want to try what he did.’”

At Malvern, McGinley was also a talented ceramic artist and graphic design student, and a member of the National Art Honor Society.

McGinley was a student at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, where he was pursuing interests in marketing and advertising.

To honor Mikey, the water polo team will retire his number in the fall.

“The McGinley’s continued to be involved even after Mikey graduated. They even asked that people donate money to the water polo team instead of sending flowers,” Schiller said.

The Blackfriar Chronicle sends their condolences to the McGinley Family.