Clarkstown South High School Class of 1978
Coach & Athletic Director
Albertus Magnus High School, Tappan Zee High School (Posthumous)
In his short life, Joe McGuinness made a lasting impact on the people of Rockland County. He was an athlete, educator, coach, administrator, husband and father, and in all areas Joe was outstanding. Joe was a starting guard on the varsity basketball team at Clarkstown South for three years. In 1978 he was a first-team All-County and All-Section 9 selection who led South into the Sectional championship game against state- ranked Mount Vernon. His coach, Marty Piccinich, who had coached basketball for 29 years, stated, “Joe is a once-in-a-life- time player with outstanding skills. However, what sets him apart is his basketball IQ, his leadership, and his intensity. His love for the game and his teammates, and his determination to win on the court and in life are unmatched.” Because of his accomplishments in high school, Joe was inducted into the Clarkstown South Hall of Fame in 2012.
Joe went on to play college basketball under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski at West Point in the 1978-1979 season, Krzyzewski’s last year at the U.S. Military Academy. Joe then transferred to Manhattan College and played for Coach Gordon Chiesa, graduating in 1982. Coach Chiesa said of McGuinness, “Joe was a very competitive player; he was the ultimate ‘gamer.’ He played to win for all the right reasons!” Joe maintained close relationships with both coaches until his death, and “Coach K” knew and regarded Joe as a loyal friend.
After graduation Joe started his basketball coaching career as an assistant at Loyola of Chicago, a Division I program. Locally, he came to Albertus Magnus as athletic director in 1992. Joe also coached varsity boys’ basketball there for seven years. He later became athletic director at Tappan Zee and coached varsity girls’ basketball for three years. He circled back to Albertus as athletic director, and also coached varsity girls’ basketball for four years. In all, Joe totaled 14 years of coaching in Rockland County.
As a coach at Albertus, Joe won both League and Section 1 championships in 1993 and 1994 in boys’ basketball. The boys’ team finished as the New York State runner-up in 1993. Later, coaching girls’ basketball in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Joe won the Sectional and Regional championships all three years. He was the first Rockland County high school coach to win Sectional titles in both boys’ and girls’ basketball, and won more than 175 games in his coaching career. On the international level, he received coaching honors as a coach/player at the Crossover Club in Ireland, leading his basketball team to prominence in the Irish National League.
As an athletic director, Joe was always looking for ways to get more students involved. A prime example of this philosophy was his implementation of the girls’ swimming program at Albertus. It has become one of the school’s most popular pro- grams, with dozens of girls participating. Joe was the athletic director at Tappan Zee from 1999 to 2003 and coached the Dutchies’ varsity girls’ basketball team for three seasons. He encouraged the growth of the youth basketball programs in South Orangetown and opened up Tappan Zee High School to CYO groups. His most successful hiring was of George Gaine as a physical education teacher and varsity boys’ basket- ball coach. (Gaine has brought the Flying Dutchmen boys’ hoops team to state-level prominence.) Joe also played a large role in finishing Tappan Zee’s extensive field renovation project, which included a beautiful turf football field and stadium lights.
Rockland Hall of Famer Tom Collins describes Joe in the following way: “As a friend, I admire Joe’s sense of humor and his straightforwardness. I rely heavily on his opinions. He’s an ‘athletic encyclopedia,’ but more importantly, he speaks honestly from his heart. As both a coach and individual, Joe is the quintessential nominee for the Rockland County Sports Hall of Fame.” Tom further stated, “As an athletic director he would always try to do what was in the best interest of the kids. In Joe’s case it’s not so much about wins and losses or championships, but how many lives he touched with his knowledge and personality.”
Jim McLaughlin, who was a 1,000-point scorer for Clarkstown North, perhaps said it best: “This is a no-brainer; he is a Rock- land County Hall of Famer. He was Gordon Chiesa’s MVP at Manhattan in his senior year! And Coach K’s last point guard at Army … that says it all.”
Sadly, we lost Joe to cancer on February 12 of this year, at the much-too-young age of 55. He leaves behind his wife, Cyn- thia, and three children – Megan, Patrick, and Conor.