A graduate of the Patchogue High School Class of 1957, Don Rooney hails from one of
Patchogue’s great athletic families. Don excelled in football, led the basketball team in scoring, and as a pitcher and shortstop led the baseball Raiders in hitting, home runs and RBIs. After a stint in the National Guard, Don played in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system, though never made it to the major leagues. He turned down a chance to scout for the Philadelphia Phillies because he and his wife Mary-Lou wanted to start a family.

Married in 1960 that family soon grew to include nine children. Don kept playing baseball as an amateur with the Patchogue Rookies, and when he also began selling coffee and snacks out of a Volkswagen panel truck, his fame only grew. Don now became known as “The Coffee Man” at the railroad station and all over town, rising each day 3 a.m. to meet the early-morning needs of his ever-expanding clientele.

Over more than 50 years he built personal relationships with members of the community, chatting about jobs, family, the news, and other aspects of life. When the first of his children was old enough to play baseball in 1969, Don began coaching in the Patchogue Youth Athletic Association, and kept at it for 22 years. He also skippered a championship Brookhaven Town team. To support players and families in need of financial assistance Don would often reach deep into his own pockets, or find other angels to provide help.

For all his successes in sports and business, Don never sought headlines for himself, but also never failed to praise the accomplishments of those under his charge. There are many people now in their 40’s and 50’s who have Don Rooney to thank for enriching their lives not only through sports, but also through lessons that shaped their character to love and support their community – just as Don has. Married for 60 years, Don and Mary-Lou now proudly celebrate their 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.