“Fr. Joseph A. Von Hartleben was our principal. He told us from the beginning that to outperform other high schools we needed to out-train them in our practices, look for information to help improve our skills, and then imitate to perfection the right technique. I embraced this throughout my 4 years at PVI and applied it to my life as an athlete and later as a coach.”
Mike was voted as the first freshman class president in 1966. He was also the first PVI state champion in any sport and the first to set a state meet group record in the Parochial “B” javelin throw. Mike scored the first varsity touchdown as the captain of the football team in its first varsity game in 1968, a 44-0 win over Archbishop Kennedy. That game football is still in the school trophy case.
Mike was a three-time state champion in track and field, setting records and winning numerous county and statewide major meet championships in the shot-put and javelin events while he captained the PVI track team to a perfect season in 1970. According to Mike, “I remember in 1966 giving the first speech ever in the auditorium as class president, asking my classmates to help put PVI on the highest plateau of excellence.”
Mike then accepted a full track and field scholarship to Arizona State University and was named twice to the All-Western Athletic Conference in the javelin. Mike’s best throws with the college implements were 54’7” shot-put, 161’9” discus, and 252’3” javelin. Before that, he attended Camden County College graduating with an AA Degree. At Camden County, he was National JC Javelin Champion, and was given the Charles A. Wolverton Award as the school's most outstanding athlete in 1972, and in 1993, he was inducted into the Camden County College Sports Hall of Fame.
After college, Mike continued his success by reaching the Olympic qualifying standard in the javelin throw. He competed in the 1980 USA Olympic Trials and had a lifetime best throw that year of 261’1”. President Jimmy Carter boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia, sending no USA athletes.
USA Track & Field ranked Mike nationally for 6 consecutive years in the javelin, and the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body of track & field, ranked Mike as a world-class track and field athlete in 1980-1981. In 2012, Mike was inducted into the prestigious South Jersey Track and Field Hall of Fame, which includes such great athletes as Carl Lewis and other Olympians.
Mike has three siblings who attended PVI: Tom ’70, Helen ’71, and Patrick ’74. Mike lived in Scottsdale, AZ, for 35 years and raised four sons: Michael, Thomas, Brian, and Shawn. Mike worked as a manager for Best Products and coached part time at Arizona State for 5 years and for 20 years at Scottsdale Community College.
Mike moved back to New Jersey in 2008 for family reasons.
Mike said, “I would like to tell the students at PVI today to welcome every day at school as a life gift from God to you and your classmates, so you can improve your knowledge skills and friendships, knowing that everything that happens there affects you. So join in and participate in something because you can never get this time back in your life again.”