By Mark Smith
Editor in Chief
Copyright Enchantment Sports
If you knew Mike Pettenuzzo, you liked Mike Pettenuzzo.
I was fortunate enough to know him.
So did countless others in Albuquerque, especially in the high school sports world.
Aug. 23, Rosary, 7 p.m., French Mortuary, 1111 University (Albuquerque)
Aug. 24, funeral, 10 a.m., Immaculate Conception, 610 Copper (Albuquerque)
“Mike was so dedicated to softball at all levels, and was always ready to help whenever he could,” said Cheryl Johnson, a longtime high school coach in Albuquerque.
“Whether it was showing a player how to hit, or designing a softball uniform, he was always there for players.”
Pettenuzzo, a former New Mexico Lobo baseball star and long-time Albuquerque softball player and high school coach, died on Wednesday night (Aug. 8) from cancer. He was 65.
Pettenuzzo, from Arlington Heights, Ill., played for the Lobo baseball team from 1972-75 and also played for the UNM football team.
He was an outstanding hitter, batting .363 in 1974 and .367 in 1975.
In 1974, Pettenuzzo had a team-leading seven homers and tied for the team lead with seven triples.
He is tied for 11th on the school’s all-time list for career triples (17).
“I went to school with Mike and we have been friends since 1971,” said Marty Watts of ProView Networks. “We were roommates in 1974. He always gave a lot in life at any social occasion.”
Pettenuzzo was softball coach at Albuquerque Academy the past 13 years and also coached at Sandia Prep.
He was also a sales representative for BSN sports.
“I’m in shock. Really sad,” said Paula Schwartz, owner of PS Ink. “Mikey and I were business competitors, but very good friends for a long time. We had a lot of respect for each other.
“He was always the life of the party and lived life to the fullest. He was one of the top elite softballs players in NM and I loved to hang out and cheer on teams he played for, like the Diablos and S&J. I will truly miss our bantering and tailgating at the football games. It won’t be the same without him.”
On a personal note, I covered the high school state softball tournament for about 25 years and would see Mike there often. I also bumped into him many other times over the years.
Whether it was at one of his teams’ games – before or after – or anywhere else, the strapping Pettenuzzo always greeted me with a bear hug.
I watched and/or covered his teams’ games many times, and he was always in the same great, personable mood regardless of the result of the game.
The news hit me hard as well on Thursday.
I’m sure it did to so very many that knew Mike.
Like I said, I am so appreciative to have been one of those.
NOTE: If anyone would like to contribute their thoughts or more information about Mike Pettenuzzo, please feel free to email EnchantmentSportsNM@gmail.com.