The following article appeared on Newsday.com, written by author Josh Stewart ([email protected])
‘Mrs. Foley’s baby boy!”
For millions of pro wrestling fans, that phrase from WWE announcer Jim Ross meant that “Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley — whether portraying Cactus Jack, Mankind or Dude Love — was heading to the ring.
The three-time WWE champion always kept fans guessing, with an offensive repertoire that ranged from the sick (thumbtacks, barbed wire and flaming branding irons) to the silly (a sock puppet named Mr. Socko.)
On Saturday, Foley will enter the WWE Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Madison Square Garden, the night before WrestleMania XXIX at MetLife Stadium.
But at Ward Melville High School, from where Mick graduated in 1983, it’s Mr. Foley — rather, Dr. Jack Foley — who still gets top billing in the family.
For the Foley family, being honored for a lifetime of achievement is nothing new. Recently, Mick was walking through the Dr. Jack Foley Gymnasium at the East Setauket school, named for his father, the longtime athletic director, who died in 2009 at age 76.
Instantly, Mick was transported back in time, his senses of sight and smell grappling for control. He remembered the pine scent of gym floor polish as he stared at the bleachers, where classmate John McNulty changed his life by convincing him to try out for wrestling as a senior.
“When I grew up, this was like my playground, this school,” said Foley, 47, as he sat in his dad’s old office and reminisced with his former JV football and basketball coach, Rick Hancock, 64, and current Ward Melville AD Erin Blaney, 54.
Jack Foley worked long hours, and Mick stayed close by.