When Mike DeFelice was a junior on the Winthrop football team, his father, Bob, resigned after 17 seasons as coach to concentrate on his new role as athletic director and his existing role as the longtime baseball coach at Bentley University.
While DeFelice said the decision stung at the time, he now recognizes that it shaped him into the man he is today, and helped him on his journey to become the new baseball coach at Winthrop.
“As a 40-year-old man, the greatest gift I’ve been given is that I’m [Bob’s] son,” said Mike. “But when you’re 15 years old, you don’t think that way. When your father is an icon in your hometown, there’s all this pressure. So it was one of the best things he ever did for me, to step down and allow me to be myself without his presence or infleunce. I was heartbroken, but it was the smart choice by him.”
DeFelice, who also played four years of baseball at Winthrop, played football at Marist College, then embarked on a football coaching career with stints as head coach at Alvirne High (Hudson, N.H) and Medford (2004-2006), before spending three seasons as the offensive line coach at Endicott College.
In 2010, DeFelice returned to his alma mater as a special education teacher. He’s spent the past 10 seasons as an assistant baseball coach under Frank DeMarco, who stepped down this offseason. DeFelice also served as an assistant football coach at Winthrop from 2011 to 2017 before taking over the Winthrop youth football program two years ago.
With his father entering his 52nd year as Bentley baseball coach, and his uncle, Frank, also a coaching veteran with 35 years of experience at Swampscott and 14 years at Endicott, Mike has no shortage of resources from which to draw upon.
“The greatest thing is being able to teach the things you believe in at the place you learned them,” said DeFelice. “To be able to do that is an honor and I’m very humbled by the opportunity to come back and lead the program, and thankful to have such great resources at my disposal.”
Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org