Softball coach passes away

Longtime Penn State Hazleton softball coach Marty Mrozinski passed away Monday.

Mrozinski served as head softball coach at Penn State Hazleton for 12 seasons and was named Coach of the Year for softball by Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) athletic directors and coaches four times, an award presented in recognition of a coach's outstanding team performance and dedication in a single season. The winner is determined by a vote placed by each coach from each school in the PSUAC.

He attained his 200th career win during the 2013-14 season and a total of 236 all-time wins as the winningest softball coach at Penn State Hazleton. During his time at the campus, the Lady Lions attained a PSUAC conference record of 163-65 and two PSUAC Pennsylvania State Championships along with an Eastern Conference Championship, 10 straight trips (2006-2015) to the Final 4 at the PSUAC State Championship Tournament and three invitations to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Championships. In 2010, his team finished with a sixth-place ranking during the national tournament.

Mrozinski was successful at recruiting numerous talented athletes to Penn State Hazleton. His players excelled not just in athletics but in academics as well, with student-athletes earning USCAA National All-Academic awards for sophomores and above earning a 3.5 or higher grade-point average and PSUAC Academic All-Conference awards for athletes earning a 3.0 or higher grade-point average.

"Coach Mrozinski has had a notable impact on his students, helping develop them into leaders on and off the field, and will be greatly missed. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family," said campus Chancellor Gary Lawler.  

Director of Athletics Ryan Ehrie said, "Coach Mrozinski's passing is a real loss to the student-athletes he mentored. While our Lady Lions softball program was highly successful under his leadership, he also taught our players important and invaluable skills that they can apply to their lives outside of athletics."

In addition to softball, Mrozinski was a talented leader in basketball as well and served as coach of women's basketball at Penn State Hazleton for a time. During the 2007 spring semester, Mrozinski became the first Penn State Hazleton coach to guide two different teams into the PSUAC playoffs in the same semester when the women's basketball team reached the elite six and the softball team finished third overall. Both teams duplicated the accomplishment in spring 2008.

Mrozinski was a familiar name in local sports. He began his coaching career at Weatherly Area High School in 1989 as an assistant baseball coach. From 1993 to 1996, he was head coach in Weatherly, coaching both boys' and girls' teams. In 1995, Mrozinski was selected as the first girls' basketball coach at MMI Preparatory School and became head softball coach at MMI in 1996. He coached softball at MMI until 1999 and then at Bishop Hafey High School from 2000 to 2003. As head coach with those two schools, he notched a successful PIAA Softball High School record of 75-51.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon; three daughters, Kelly, Salena and Megan; and seven grandchildren. Kelly and Salena are Penn State graduates and Megan is a former Penn State Hazleton assistant softball coach.

Calling hours are Friday, Dec. 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at McNulty Funeral Home, 494 E. Butler Drive, Freeland. A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, White Haven.