Mike Macnamara, former Nova High PE teacher and basketball coach, dies at 79

Former Coach John Michael “Mike” Macnamara, who taught for 30 years at Nova High School in Davie, died right around midnight Monday at a Plantation hospital, according to his friends and family. He was 79.

Macnamara taught PE at the school from about 1967 to 1997, according to his son, and headed the boys’ basketball team from 1967-1977. In 2009 the school named its gym after him. The ceremony took place prior to the boys’ basketball game between the Titans and Pompano Beach.

Macnamara went 140-25 in his coaching career at Nova High School and won two district titles. He was the recipient of several Coach of the Year accolades by area newspapers.

In addition to his duties as a physical education teacher, Macnamara ran the detention hall.

“He was a great man who influenced many generations of students and his impact will be felt long after his passing,” said Dr. Dan Bober, a 1989 Nova graduate. “He was very inspirational, he was very skilled at his job and made the students he worked with into tremendous athletes.”

Macnamara is survived by his son John “Graham” Macnamara, who said his father believed sports gave kids self-esteem. “He felt teamwork and team sports was a life-changing experience and skill,” he said. “That’s what he was conveying to them — teamwork and camaraderie.”

Teamwork was “the key to finding yourself,” he said.

“Teams are like families, he was like their father, I always felt like (I had) half-brothers and sisters,” Graham Macnamara, of Asheville, N.C., said. “Because for him, I think he felt team sports were really how we’re able to work together. He was never into hot shot players and showboating. It was really about helping the kids understand the value of teamwork and that is his legacy.”

Coach Macnamara was born in Virginia and moved to Florida as a small child when his mother found a new job. He received his college degrees at the Junior College of Broward County in 1965, his bachelor’s from Florida State University, and his master’s degree in 1968 from Florida Atlantic University.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at TM Ralph Funeral Homes, 7001 NW 4th St. in Plantation.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Jan. 20 at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1750 E. Oakland Park Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Interment will be immediately following in Lauderdale Memorial Park in Fort Lauderdale.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at Follow on X, formerly Twitter, @LisaHuriash