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Michael Finucane Michael Finucane
Inducted: 2009 - Graduated: 1983




Mike Finucane is one of the most accomplished players to wear a Golden Knights football uniform. Armed with a sprinter’s speed, ironman durability, bruising toughness and a competitive fervor, Mike hefted the team on his shoulders and helped carry the Knights to a Section 1 championship, two league titles, two Bowl game appearances and a glittering 23-4 record during a record-breaking three-year varsity career.


Of course, if you ask Mike he’ll defer much of the credit to less-heralded teammates who paved the way for his ground-eating thrusts downfield. “I remember the team effort. That’s what it’s all about,” Mike says. “I got a lot of accolades, but a lot of linemen and lead blockers put me in that position,” guys like backfield mates Kurt and Scott Sahlstrom, fullback Bill Annesi, and linemen Paul and Steve Bailey, Pat and Tim Harris and Paul Hannon, among others.


As a halfback, Mike was the complete package. Speed? His sophomore year he just missed the school record with a blistering 50.2 seconds in the 400-meter dash, earning second-team All-County honors in spring track. Durability? He averaged 25 carries a game for three years, totaling 577 carries and averaging 5.2 yards a carry with only three fumbles lost. Toughness? He played three-quarters of Nanuet’s 1981 bowl game with torn tissue in his back, a game Nanuet won 14-8 over Eastchester with Mike serving primarily as a decoy.


By the time he hung up his No. 42 uniform in the fall of 1982, Mike had harvested a cornucopia of honors: first Rockland schoolboy to break 3,000 yards rushing in a career; a career total of 3,015 yards that broke the previous County record of North Rockland legend Jim Brechbiel (1968-71) by more than 650 yards, and is still the Nanuet school record; a County-record 38 touchdowns, eclipsing the previous mark of 33 held by Haverstraw’s Joe Natale (1960-62); surpassing 100 yards rushing in 12 straight games; a school-record 577 career carries; and holding eight individual offensive school records, four each for a season and for a career.


Mike made second-team All New York State as a junior and first-team All-State as a senior. He also reaped WRKL/Nanuet National Bank Athlete of the Season laurels in the fall of ’82, Journal-News Scholar-Athlete of the Week the same season, first-team All-League in 1981 and ’82, and was a Jerry Leo Memorial Scholarship winner in 1983.


“Mike had a great competitive spirit and was easy to motivate,” says Rich Conklin, Mike’s football coach. “It didn’t take much to challenge him and once you did, you had him on the right track. Mike was quick, durable, tough and highly competitive. And he was always explosive. He had the potential to turn any given play into a touchdown.”


Mike was the product of a Nanuet system that taught the same basic schemes from the seventh/eighth-grade level right up to varsity. Freshman coach Rich Loughlin, assisted by Jerome Bonomolo, schooled Mike in the fundamentals and physical play that has always been a Nanuet trademark. “If you weren’t tough before playing on the freshmen team, [Loughlin] made sure you were when you moved on,” says Mike, not a big running back at 5-10 ½ and 160 lbs. “Coach Conklin had the same philosophy at every level, the same basic plays that were instilled in seventh and eight grade, and the same mentality of contact and physical play.” Mike also cites the positive influence of his brother Larry, Nanuet class of 1976, who was an assistant coach under Conklin during most of Mike’s tenure on varsity.


Like many athletes, Mike remembers the sting of tough losses more than the thrill of big victories, citing in particular a 9-0 loss to an 0-2 Somers team early in the 1981 season, when Nanuet was 2-0 and ranked No. 1 in its class in New York State.


Mike ran winter and spring track his first two years but left track to play baseball his last two years, earning two varsity letters and the Most Improved Player award in 1982. Still, he calls his decision to forgo track for baseball “the biggest regret of my whole career. Track was phenomenal preparation for football. Mentally, the training was tough. That’s one thing I should’ve stayed with.”


After playing for two years at Southern Connecticut, Mike opted to move on to other pursuits. He left the school after two years, later enrolled at Ramapo College and in 1992 earned a B.S. in education with a concentration in history. He has taken online seminary courses at The King’s Seminary in California and Christian Life College in Illinois, and is a devout Christian who serves as a deacon and Board of Trustees member at Gracepoint Gospel Fellowship Church in New City.


Mike works in the printing business and for the past 15 years has been owner/partner of MMP Printing Group, a full-service commercial printing operation based in East Hanover, N.J. MMP encompasses both Minuteman Press, which has a branch in Nanuet, and Plains Printers.


Fulfilling a need to give back through his faith, Mike is co-leader of the “Oasis Ministry,” an evangelical ministry dedicated to feeding the poorest residents of Rockland and providing for their spiritual and physical needs. He is also an emergency response chaplain for the Billy Graham “Rapid Response Team,” a ministry based in Asheville, N.C., that was formed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The unit’s mission is to provide emotional and spiritual care to people involved in natural disasters and crisis situations throughout the country.


Mike, who turned 45 on Nov. 9, lives in Pearl River with his wife of 16 years, Tricia, and their 8-year-old twin daughters, Caitlin and Shannon.


“Mike was resilient through various issues and circumstances in life,” Rich Conklin says. “He comes from a wonderful family. His true character enabled him to be successful in life as a good husband and father.”