Double tragedy in area coaching community
January 21, 2019 11:28 PM
SCOTIA - On well-traveled Mohawk Avenue in Scotia, 70-year old Frank DeMasi went outside to shovel his sidewalk around 8:00 p.m. Sunday night, his wife went to bed, and then a village snow plow operator spotted his body at 5:40 a.m. Monday morning.
"When I was in high school (I met him) and he's still coaching up to this point today, so he has touched numerous lives," Eric Brennan, a local time friend, reflected.
Brennan ran track for Schenectady High School back in the early 1990's. At the time, DeMasi was coaching cross-town rival Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons.
"Even though we were on different sides of the city, he always made it a point to come up to me to congratulate me after the race," Brennan, 43, remembers. "He was always supportive, not only to me but all the kids from Schenectady, everybody, no matter what school you ran for."
DeMasi began coaching track and field at Duanesburgh High School in 1998. He spent more than two decades mentoring young scholar-athletes at that school.
"Always had a smile on his face, always had a kind word, always positive," Brennan said.
Meanwhile, Mike Ambrosio, 65, who recently retired as a physical education teacher in the South Colonie School District, who used to coach the varsity Red Raiders football team, was shoveling a neighbor's driveway Monday morning when he was stricken.
On a community website, Ambrosio was remembered as "an outstanding coach, teacher, colleague, and gentleman."
Brennan says his longtime friend DeMasi always loved the human connection he'd make with students.
"I think he just loved seeing the process from the young kids when they first come up to the team as freshmen to where they blossom as seniors and become tremendous runners," Brennan thought, "sending kids off to different colleges, he liked to see that process."
Late Monday night funeral arrangements for both coaches were pending.
Updated: January 21, 2019 11:28 PM
Created: January 21, 2019 04:06 PM
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