BAYONNE, NJ – After Marist High School fanned with its first choice for baseball coach this year, it has rallied with its pick of interim coach Mark De Menna.
Marist let go of previous coach Mike Tallarida and his two assistant coaches on April 14, according to Head of School Alice Miesnik.
“There were philosophical differences,” Miesnik said. “We had had discussions about how we’d like things to be run, and they weren’t being run that way.” Tallarida could not be reached for comment.
The team’s players and their parents were onboard with the changes.
“The kids were extremely supportive of our decision,” Miesnik said. “The students were looking for a different vibe. Some of the players had stayed after their coach left last year. I respect these boys. I also trusted their judgment.”
De Menna was one of two candidates suggested to Marist between Thursday, April 14 and Friday, April 15. Things fell into place for Marist that Friday, when De Menna was interviewed.
“Coach De Menna brings with him a ton of experience in all levels of baseball,” said Athletic Director Erica Buonacquista.
“It’s absolutely serendipitous,” Miesnik said. “He happened to be available and has a great reputation. We are very grateful.”
De Menna brings with him more than two decades of baseball experience and success in New Jersey.
As a player at Waldwick High School, De Menna earned 1st Team All Bergen County and 1st Team All State All Groups selections his senior year.
De Menna then played for William Paterson University in Wayne, where he led the Pioneers to the College World Series Division III Championship in 1996 and was named series most valuable player. For his collegiate accomplishments, his name has been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
After college, De Menna began coaching while playing semi-professional baseball. He was a graduate assistant at William Paterson before becoming an assistant coach for his high school team. In 2004, he received his first head coaching job with the semi-pro Hackensack Troasts.
De Menna will coach the Royal Knights the remainder of the season. Already, he has won over his players.
“His first encounter with the boys made them feel like winners,” Miesnik said. “He has that kind of attitude. It’s very refreshing.”