No. 2 Sports Story of the Year: A legend retires

12/31/2014 12:00 PM |
Shoreham-Wading River baseball coach Sal Mignano announced his retirement this summer after 38 years. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Shoreham-Wading River baseball coach Sal Mignano announced his retirement this summer after 38 years. (Credit: Bill Landon)

In 38 seasons as the head coach of the Shoreham-Wading River baseball team — and the only coach in the program’s history — Sal Mignano guided the Wildcats to 583 victories. 

Mignano became synonymous with Shoreham baseball, a program that achieved remarkable success over four decades. This summer, after another stellar season saw the Wildcats win the League VII championship, Mignano announced his plans to retire.

For the first time ever, it’ll be a coach other than Mignano on the bench when the Wildcats take the field in 2015. Mignano announced his retirement at a ceremony to retire the jerseys of three former players — Matt Millheiser, Buddy Gengler and Bryan Sabatella. What Mignano didn’t know, however, was that his jersey, No. 1, was also going to be retired.

A 2007 inductee into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame, Mignano left an indelible mark on Shoreham athletics. His teams sustained a nearly unprecedented level of success during his tenure, including 29 straight seasons of reaching the playoffs, a streak that remains intact.

Since 1981, the fifth year of the program, the team never finished below .500. In 1987, the Wildcats won the state championship behind the duo of Keith Osik and Eric Strovink. Osik went on to play 10 years in Major League Baseball. His son Tyler was a senior this past season on Mignano’s final team.

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