Editor’s Note: June is always a big month around high schools. There is graduation and the end of the scholastic careers for seniors, plus Father’s Day. During previous Junes, Tom Williams has turned over his column to Stephanie Gaitley, Matt Woolley, Jeff Boyd, Allison Rinck, Erik Geisinger, Doug Colman, Allie Moreland, Tracey LeFever, the Degenhardt sisters, Chelsea Bruno, Danielle McNally, Dave & Casey Beyel, the Donahue sisters, Allison Travers and Shaune McLaughlin, among others, to write about their fathers.
This week, two Ocean City High School graduates – Kristen Donahue Mazzitelli and Erin Donahue Porter – write their feelings about their father, Greg. Kristen, who played basketball and softball and ran cross country in high school, attended Quinnipiac University and is now the rehab manager at The Shore of Wesley Manor. Erin, who played basketball and ran cross country and track in high school, attended James Madison University and is now a third grade teacher in Weymouth Township. Kristen is married to Chris Mazzitelli of Manco & Manco and their three children attend Ocean City schools, Erin is married to Jon Porter, a strength and conditioning coach, and their two children go to school in Upper Township.
In addition to his work as an educator and youth coach in Ocean City, Greg Donahue is well known around the Cape-Atlantic League as a referee and umpire.

A Father’s Day tribute to Greg Donahue

By Kristen Donahue Mazzitelli & Erin Donahue Porter
Guest Sports Columnists

Our father has many great loves: his family, his religion, his home town and the children in this community. He works every day to do his very best for them all. We have never met anyone who can successfully accomplish so much in all aspects of his life. He is Daddy to us. He is also a loving husband, teacher, principal, coach, mentor, community leader, friend, pop-pop.
Our father, Greg Donahue, grew up in Collingdale, PA. He is an only child but was blessed with many cousins, aunts, and uncles. He was lucky enough to be of the generation where the mothers, aunts and grandparents packed up the kids for the summer and spent 10 glorious weeks at the shore. His summers in Ocean City started a lifelong love affair with the town he calls home.
Moving here in 1970, newly married and newly hired to teach special education in the Ocean City Schools, he set out to make a difference in children’s lives. He recently stated that he was trying to find a way to get to know the youth of Ocean City better when a student said, “You look like an athlete, Mr. Donahue. Do you want to coach a little league team?” That young boy started a 43-year involvement in the Ocean City Youth Athletic Association. He has touched hundreds of lives through the OCYAA. He has seen children grow up and return many years later with their own children—one of those children being his future son-in-law who now coaches his own children.
Prior to high school, we did not attend the Ocean City public schools – our father’s Catholic faith is very important to him. He and our mother wanted to carry on the family tradition of a Catholic education. We proudly attended St. Augustine School and benefited athletically from the CYO programs. Dad further developed the CYO program which included girls’ and boys’ basketball, cheerleading, coed soccer and track and field. He was our teacher, coach, and character builder. He taught us that nothing was out of reach if you worked hard enough for it. He continued to be involved with St. Augustine and the diocesan CYO program for more than 10 years. Again, he touched hundreds of lives both in Ocean City and surrounding towns with a CYO program.
High school athletics was the first time we experienced a team sport without our father as our primary coach. What we found, however, was that we were more than prepared for this transition. Our father didn’t just teach us how to bounce a basketball or shoot from triple threat position, he taught us self-confidence, respect for others, determination, self-sacrifice and humility. He taught us the importance of “TEAM”.
Now that we are both married and with children of our own, we begin to realize the tremendous gift that our father gave us. He gave us his undivided time and attention. We always knew that he was there for us, no matter what. He gave us everything he had—he still does. He gave us the tools to become successful and confident in all aspects of our life. He helped us to become the adults we are today. He showed us daily what a husband and father should be—we are both blessed to have found that in our lives. He passed on his deep faith in God. His beloved Ocean City is now our beloved Ocean City. He gave us his love of sport and we are passing that on to the next generation.
During the Spring, our dad can still be found Saturday mornings at tee-ball teaching the youth of Ocean City the correct way to run around the bases or field a ground ball. Most every afternoon he’s at the fields umpiring a Little League game. Summer he’s refereeing basketball games at Sixth or 18th Street after spending a perfect day at the beach. Fall will find him on a soccer field. And the winter is spent again on the hardwood.
If he’s not officiating or coaching, he can be found on the sidelines cheering on his grandchildren—Kate, Sean, and Zach Mazzitelli are active in soccer, basketball, baseball, and football; and Jack and Logan Porter are just beginning to discover their talents in baseball and soccer. He told us he retired several years ago. We are wondering what he retired from! He hasn’t stopped and we suspect he never will.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! Happy Birthday, too (June 16)!!! We love you.

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