August 24, 2018
By: Tom Meikrantz
Rob Melosky has been either a head coach or an assistant coach on the high school and collegiate level since his playing days in the early 1990’s. Now 48, he took on an opponent that no one wants to face-cancer. Diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer before last Christmas, Melosky told his doctor basically “Let’s go after this head-on right now, I’m ready to face whatever you throw at me to win.” Surgery in January to remove lymph nodes from each side of his neck, radiation and chemotherapy starting in April and Melosky was ready to return to work in May as head coach at Pocono Mountain East for a 2nd season. The hardest part was having his family go through it too and have one his children ask “What’s going to happen to daddy?”. This wasn’t his first health scare. He underwent aortic valve replacement surgery in 2014 after stepping down as head coach at Nazareth.
The good news is that after aggressively attacking the cancer, Melosky is now cancer-free. His mouth is the last thing to heal. I noticed him walking stiffly at the August 8th Lehigh Valley High School Media Day at Northampton and his speech was noticeably labored when we chatted. I attended practice Wednesday before season openers August 24th and he was much more nimble on his feet and speaking a little better, very involved in drills and barking at players. Anyone attending Melosky-coached games knows how much of a presence he is on the sidelines (ask any referee).
I am writing this just hours before the Cardinals host Nazareth, the team he coached for six years and led to the 2011 District 4A title. Melosky downplayed his connection to the Nazareth program and praised his replacement Tom Falzone for the job he’s done there since 2014. I found him more engaging, candid about his ordeal and down-to-earth in conversation. Melosky has had his share of critics over the years. Life-changing experiences can’t help but make a person appreciate a second chance at life.