Jim Muldowney, former Edison High baseball coach and athletic director, dies at 68

Jim Muldowney, former Edison High baseball coach and athletic director, dies at 68

Jim Muldowney, an Edison High School baseball coach and athletic director, stands next to Dave Sandaal, the current EHS athletic director, who is driving a golf cart. EHS ATHLETICS/X (https://x.com/EHSSouthside/status/1793487825029284073)

EDISON, N.J., June 8 (ZFJ) — James “Diamond Jim” Muldowney, 68, an Edison High School baseball coach and athletic director, died on Tuesday, May 21, after briefly battling cancer.

“Jim dedicated his life to the betterment of students and athletes, leaving an indelible mark on the community,” reads his obituary. He was a mentor to countless students and coaches alike.

Muldowney was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Edison. He graduated from Edison High in 1973 and lived in North Brunswick for 33 years.

He was the varsity basketball coach at Edison High from 1981-1984. He briefly taught in Watchung Hills before he returned to EHS to coach basketball again from 1987-1988.

“His thing, he was great into detail,” said Mike Meagher, a current EHS physical education teacher who was on Muldowney’s basketball team for three years. “He would dot his i’s, cross his t’s, he was always so organized. I felt he made me better as a player by being very demanding, and that helped me improve my game a lot.”

Once the position was available, Muldowney became Edison High’s head baseball coach for 13 years, from the 1988 to the 2000 seasons. He was additionally an assistant basketball coach for junior varsity and freshmen.

Muldowney’s record as a baseball coach was 275-75. He led the Eagles to win 10 conference championships, seven county championships, five sectional titles, and two state Group IV championships.

Central Jersey Sports Radio noted that his 1993 team was the first in Greater Middlesex Conference history to win the division, county, and state championships in the same season—only achieved once later by Spotswood in 2007.

Muldowney then stepped down from coaching to become Edison High’s fifth athletic director, serving from 2000 to 2008, and later Edison’s supervisor of health and physical education, retiring in June 2018.

“He had a way about him, attention to detail, never cut corners, did things the right way,” said Dave Sandaal, Edison High’s seventh and current athletic director and a member of Muldowney’s basketball team in 1987-1988. “Like I tell my coaches today, if you want to emulate someone, I say, look no further than Jim Muldowney and how he ran his program.”

Muldowney was ultimately hired by Middlesex College to revive its softball program, and his teams for the last three seasons were nationally ranked. He’d previously served as the college’s head baseball coach from 1977-1987.

In an Instagram post, the Middlesex Colts said that his career coaching record is 492-205 for a .706 winning percentage.

Many Edison High athletics staff remember him as a mentor, colleague, and friend to them.

“He was a mentor to me, really gave me my first opportunity, and over the years, that mentorship and that kind of coach and baseball relationship really turned into a friendship,” said Vinnie Abene, who Muldowney hired as Edison’s current head baseball coach.

“My first day on the job, he brought in a box of mementos and said, ‘don’t screw it up and do a great job and I know you will and I’m proud of you,’” recounted Sandaal. “I was over the moon that he knew I was gonna do a good job, not only for the school but for the alums and everybody else who was an athlete with me.”

It wasn’t just about winning, though. Muldowney was also widely known as a great family man and an immensely loyal friend.

“The big thing about the county championship here in Middlesex County is it’s played at a field called East Brunswick Vo-Tech—one of the nicest fields in the country—and he had played on it a dozen times,” said Abene. “But when his son played for North Brunswick High School, and his son’s team made that championship game and they were on that field, I think he was happier that his son was on that field playing in that game than he ever was coaching in that game.”

“He filmed every at-bat, he filmed him doing warmups, he filmed every aspect of that day. He was so proud of his son and so happy, that, again, just as an onlooker, I just saw a different side to him that made you say that this is one of the most well-rounded human beings I have ever met.”

Muldowney is survived by his wife of 33 years, Ann Muldowney (Saffiotti); children Joe and wife Casey, Vinnie and wife Monica, Anthony, and Marylynn; mother Loretta Muldowney (Fantanarosa); sister Lori; brother Mike; and his extended family. He is predeceased by his father James Muldowney.

In lieu of flowers, it is requested that memorial contributions be made to the Teamwork Unlimited Foundation or Marisa Tufaro Foundation.