W. WARREN FENLEY, 86
Police sergeant coached at Farrell and Moore
Monday, January 19, 2009
Staten Island Advance
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STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE — W. Warren (Mick) Fenley, 86, of Toms River, N.J., a Staten Island native who came out of the Marines at the end of World War II to play on the original NBA version of the Boston Celtics, died yesterday in Community Medical Center, Toms River.
Born and raised in Port Richmond, he lived in Castleton Corners before moving to Toms River in 1989.
Mr. Fenley started playing basketball on the playgrounds of West Brighton. A graduate of Port Richmond High School, he helped lead the school to the semifinals of PSAL city playoffs. Named All-City, he went to Manhattan College in the Bronx and played in the National Invitation Tournament.
He then served in the U.S. Marines from 1946 to 1948. Due to his two-year degree in physical education, he went into the service as a sergeant and became a drill instructor on Parris Island, South Carolina. He met his wife of 62 years, the former Anne Gillis, as a fellow sergeant.
Without a college draft, Mr. Fenley, who played some basketball during his time in the Marines, was able to join the Celtics roster. The 6-foot-3 forward usually started.
Largely considered one of the Island’s greatest home-grown pros, Mr. Fenley played one year in the inaugural season of the National Basketball Association.
After leaving the Celtics, he played for a professional team in Vermont, and then returned to the Island and joined the New York City Police Department. Mr. Fenley began his 20-year career as a police officer at Manhattan’s Ninth Precinct. He was later assigned to the 120th Precinct in St. George, and retired as a sergeant from the 123rd Precinct in Tottenville.
He went on to coach at Monsignor Farrell and Moore Catholic high schools and was credited with building up the athletic department at Moore Catholic.
Mr. Fenley was honored by the Boston Celtics during a halftime ceremony in 1996 in Boston to celebrate the NBA’s 50th anniversary.
“We were blessed to have this great man as our father,” said his sons, Bill and Steve.
“I first met Mick as a 23-year-old assistant coach and new teacher at Monsignor Farrell,” said Angelo Aponte, Secretary of the New York State Senate. “It was extraordinary good luck for me to be involved with someone like Warren at that time in my life. He taught me about relationships with players and how to keep the job of teacher and coach in balance.”
Mr. Fenley was inducted to the Old-Timers Hall of Fame; the Moore Catholic High School Hall of Fame and the Staten Island Hall of Fame. He enjoyed playing tennis at the Hillside Swim Club in Bulls Head and playing golf with his sons and grandchildren.
Mr. Fenley was a former parishioner of St. Rita’s R.C. Church, Meiers Corners, and a parishioner of St. John’s R.C. Church, Manchester, N.J.
Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Anne Gillis; two sons, Bill and Steve; two sisters, Genieve Thompson and Shirley Magnussen, and four grandchildren.
The funeral will be Wednesday from the Harmon Home for Funerals, West Brighton, with a mass at 10 a.m. in St. Rita’s R.C. Church, Meiers Corners. Burial will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery, West Brighton.
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Fenley, W. Warren Mick [MC????]
Guestbook: None known
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