SFU Mourns the Loss of “Father Jack”


Father Jack O’Malley, a member of the SFU Athletics Hall of Fame and someone who epitomized the phrase “Become That Someone” throughout his life, died earlier this month at age 83.

O’Malley was awarded the school’s Mr. Frankie Award in 1959 and inducted into the SFU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. After graduating from Saint Francis, he had the opportunity to play pro basketball for the Detroit Pistons, but chose to enroll in the seminary instead. Throughout his life, he was voice and a champion of social justice.

He is the only person to capture the Mr. Frankie Award, be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame, and be named a distinguished alumnus at the University, which he earned in 1993.

“Father Jack showed great leadership in a time when it was hard to do so,” said junior basketball player Tyler Stewart. “My favorite story about him was when he refused to stay in segregated hotels apart from his teammates.”

During his tenure, O’Malley led SFU’s basketball team to a 52-22 record and a berth in the 1958 NIT.

But it was off the court where he made his greatest impact, always calling out injustice wherever he saw it.

“I met Father Jack several times during my time as sports information director,” said Associate Professor of Communications Pat Farabaugh. “He was a man of principle.

“I also have heard many stories about Father Jack from the alumni of his era. These alumni, essentially, all say the same thing: Father Jack cared about others and was a man of action in righting wrongs.”

O’Malley served as chaplain to the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and the Allegheny County Labor Council. He was also part of the National Church Council movement during the 1970s, and traveled to Nicaragua to work to improve the rights of laborers in that country.

“Jack O’Malley was a man that fought for equality and wanted to stop the separation of races,” said sophomore basketball player A.J. Burch.