DUANESBURG -- Longtime Duanesburg coach Frank DeMasi impacted many young athletes over the years, school Superintendent Frank Macri said on Tuesday.
Current and former students have offered stories about the coach, since his death Monday in Scotia, Macri said.
"They're just remembering him being that person who was there for them -- just a strong person in their lives," Macri said.
DeMasi, 70, was found dead of a heart attack early Monday outside his Scotia home, police said. He had gone outside to shovel snow from the weekend storm Sunday evening.
The Duanesburg Central School District had counselors on hand Tuesday for grieving students, Macri said.
DeMasi had coached at Duanesburg since 1998. Most recently, he was coach of the boys modified cross-country team. He had also coached track. Before Duanesburg, he coached at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.
A report on the Duanesburg Central School District's Facebook page from DeMasi in October touted how well the Duanesburg runners had performed at a meet in Fort Plain.
Another from DeMasi and fellow coach Deann Lynch in November told of successes from the boys and girls teams. "Congratulations to all of the runners," the post concluded.
Lynch coached with DeMasi over the past six years, she said in an email. All three of her sons also ran for DeMasi.
She recalled everyone knowing DeMasi wherever the teams traveled. He passed along his deep knowledge of running to players and shared his coaching knowledge with her, she recalled.
"He was one of the most dedicated coaches I have ever met," Lynch wrote. "He cared deeply for each of his runners and helped them to grow as both athletes and people."
Duanesburg Athletic Director Penny Hardenstine recalled DeMasi as a coach maintained lasting connections to his sport and runners.
"He could tell you dates and years and who ran in what race, what their times were and how they came in," Hardenstine recalled. "He was just an amazing man. He was very passionate about his sport."
DeMasi's own Facebook page featured notes from former students and runners mourning his passing.
Farther down on the page, DeMasi's own posts and comments showed his connection to his players. In one post from October 2017, he excitedly recounted the performance of the teams at a championship meet.
"I am humbled by the way the boys raised their level of effort at this meet," he wrote. "I think all seven boys ran their best times ever on this course. Congratulations, Duanesburg Eagles!"
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