Founded by Pudgie Walsh
Written by Mike Nielsen
In the annals of American Football, only two coaches have surpassed the 600-win milestone at the high school, college, professional or semi-pro levels. Coach John McKissick of Summerville High School in South Carolina did it in 2012 and Coach Robert “Pudgy” Walsh of the Brooklyn Mariners semipro team did it in 2014. Technically, Pudgy Walsh reached 600 wins in the Fall of 2013, however, he surpassed that mark this year by adding wins 601 thru 609. Each coach has set a record for coaching tenure at their respective levels, with Coach McKissick having 63 years and Coach Walsh having 58 seasons. The picture here shows Pudgy in the middle with Billy Ahern (Kings Point 1966 longtime Mariner 1972 MVP) and Pat Nilsen. Pudgy, by the way, has been head coach of the Brooklyn Mariners since their founding in 1957, and his accomplishment of reaching and surpassing 600 wins has been completely overlooked by the press. The Pointer, therefore, has an exclusive story to publish on this amazing accomplishment.
Currently, the Brooklyn Mariners are 9-3 and have just won their second playoff game over the New Jersey Somerset Bears 14 to 10 in a nail-biter that ended with one second on the clock and the ball on the Mariners 1 yard line. Fortunately, the Mariners stopped them and the victory avenged a 14-7 loss earlier in the year and a 30-0 loss last year in the playoffs. What is interesting about the current team is that the complexion of the team has definitely changed from the past, but the winning tradition has not changed at all. Pudgy still personally recruits guys and motivates them regardless of their background or heritage. He is completely color blind and serves as a father figure who dishes out praise and punishment, whenever the situation calls for leadership. He loves football and is always looking for talented guys who love it as well.
This article was originally published in The Rockaway Point News, 11/7/2014.
The Mariners are now in the in the Major League Football (MLF) Final Four and key players that have also helped them get there include Dave Legree (South Shore HS, Syracuse/ Hampton Univ., signed with NFL Colts ‘12), Jeff Legree (Fort Hamilton HS, Palomar College, NFL Europe), Justin Graham (South Shore HS, C.W. Post), Shavaun White (ASA), Terrence Turner (captain Marist, academic all-star), Davaughn West (Canarsie HS, USMC), Jim Schmidt, Westley Augusto, Brian Argilagos, Mike Thompson (Globe Institute), Oneil Haynes (Canarsie HS, NYC all-star), Tye Battle (South Shore HS), Mike James, Eric Picardo, Anthony Prophete, Joe Stagliano (Springfi eld College), Darius Drew, Tamil Pickard, Joel Buchanan, Kadeem Jonas, Mike Zhenilenko, Raynaldo Pagan, Valerio Auguste (Xaverian HS), Isiah Labato, Suli Suliman, Phil Smalls, and others. These guys don’t have a connection to Breezy Point other than to say they play for the most successful coach in college, professional and semi-pro history and that’s good enough. Pudgy has a
The team picture shown above, with Coach Pudgy Walsh in the center, was taken shortly after the Brooklyn Mariners beat the NJ Wolves, who were 8-1 coming into the final game of the regular season. The victory was a closely contested battle, with a 15-14 score, against a long-time rival. At halftime, Brian McGee’s number 33 was retired in a ceremony announced by Pudgy. Brian played for the Mariners for 21 years, set the all-time record for touchdowns with 165 and was MVP in 1997 & 1998. He is also only 1 of 2 guys who played on all four national championship teams for the Mariners. The link for the game and halftime presentation can be found on youtube at: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=Ga8eiqKxQIg
Some of the current players who have been on the team for many years include starting center Ed Christie (Kings Point 1992), running back Mike Cerone (1999 MVP), Sean McGlynn #42 (1996 MVP) who showed up for the reunion and decided to play, Coach Buzz, Coach Jimmy Ford. Other people like assistants Eugene, Ed, Bill have helped the team for years. Chris Jones (member of 3 national championship teams) helped at the presentation ceremony.
With such a long history of success, there is no way I can do justice in this article to the many players and coaches who have helped Pudgy over the years. What I can say though is that the current team has given Pudgy a lot of enjoyment, as they improved upon a 6-4 team in 2013 and turned it into a 9-3 team this year battling for the MLF American Conference Championship on Sunday.
tradition he follows after every game win or lose. He gets both teams together at mid field tells them how heroic they played this great game of football and then has everyone say a prayer, an Our Father, as a blessing. Coming from a family that said rosaries regularly, when I grew up, I find the traditional to be refreshing. He is not saying prayers before the game asking for victory, instead, he is bringing everyone together and adding a special quality to end the game. There is another football coach, who I learned this year, followed a tradition of attending mass every day and saying prayers for his team. He was on track to become a priest, but was a bit grumpy at times and decided to become a football coach instead – his name was Vince Lombardi. I guess Pudgy has some good company with his demeanor, his traditions and his winning record.
Brooklyn Mariners Football Est. 1957
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In the case of Pudgy Walsh, he is five years younger than John McKissick being born in Marine Park, Brooklyn in 1934, so technically, he is the fastest coach ever to reach 600 wins! He is also a long-time member of the Breezy Point community as his family rented a cabana at the Surf Club for many years going back to the 1960’s. There is no doubt, given his 38-year career as a FDNY fi reman, that his teams were populated with many players ~from Breezy Point over the years. In fact, Coach John Kelly of Xavier High School mentioned to me that he played for Pudgy years ago. Well, there are now three more players on Pudgy’s current team that have Breezy Point ties and those guys include Michael O’Shea #67 (Xaverian HS and Catholic University), Michael Potter #58 (Xavier HS and WPI) and Patrick Nilsen #47 (Xavier HS and Catholic University). These players were recruited by Pudgy during a long series of phone conversations that Pudgy had with Mike O’Shea during his senior year at CUA. Mike enlisted Patrick, Patrick encouraged Mike Potter and a few more guys came along to enhance a team already brimming with talent. Pudgy, who turned 80 this year, went to school with Mike O’Shea’s grandfather. The Walsh O’Shea connection is strong, especially since the O’Shea family also had a cabana at the Surf Club going back to the 60’s!