Dear Editor: It brings me tremendous sadness to learn of the passing of my mentor, friend and confidant, also long-time Tablet sports columnist, Bernie Beglane.
I think that’s the first time I ever referred to him as anything other than Dean. He was always my dean and I was forever his pupil.
We met in 1990. He was my academic advisor at St. John’s University, where he was also the Dean of Athletic Administration.
After I graduated in 1991, he got me my first sports writing job for SportsForm magazine in Long Island where he also was a columnist. I would later become his editor.
As life moved on, I was proud to call him a friend and mentor. We would catch up at St. John’s basketball games at Madison Square Garden where he always sat on media row next to the phone – ironic, as he would hate chitchat when one would call him.
He had a gruff exterior – truly, a Damon Runyon character – but a heart of pure gold. He would follow my career and always ask about my wife and kids. He would always preach family first. Simply stated, he was a true Catholic gentleman.
If you caught him at the right time, his stories of the good old days were epic; a best seller begging to be written.
Associated Press sportswriter Jim O’Connell, said it best: “If you could get all the people Bernie helped together, they would fill Madison Square Garden.”
Thanks, Dean, for always having my back. You will be greatly missed.
Editor’s Note: Nick Vendikos is the director of development for the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens | Futures in Education.