Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/12/10
From Press Releases
The Whittier College (Calif.) men’s lacrosse team recently held its first HEADstrong Night to support the HEADstrong Foundation, founded in memory of Ridley High graduate Nick “Head” Colleluori.
The special event was held when Whittier opened its season Feb. 19 with a 16-5 home victory over Southern Maine.
Whittier (3-2 this season as a Division III program) is coached by Downingtown High graduate Brian Kelly. One of Kelly’s assistant coaches is graduate assistant James Morgan, a teammate of Colleuori while at Hofstra and the Pride team captain in 2005. The Pets sold lime green HEADstrong t-shirts and signature shoe laces as a way to raise public awareness of the disease and funds that will be put towards blood cancer research.
Whittier’s opponents, University of Southern Maine also supported HEADstrong Foundation by purchasing and wearing the foundation’s lime green dri-fit shirts for the game.
Colleluori, a member of the Hofstra University Lacrosse Team, died of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006, at the age of 21. While fighting the disease, Nick created the Foundation to raise public awareness and help others affected by blood cancer. The mission of the HEADstrong Foundation is dedicated to bringing Nick’s vision to reality.
“I first met Nick in the Fall of 2004, my junior year at Hofstra University,” said Morgan. “The reputation of Nick’s tenacious style of play preceded him. Nick stood out immediately the first day of practice.
“He was a little undersized, but made up for it through the effort and the speed at which he played the game. Not only did his style of play stand out, his passion for the game and competitive spirit was immediately evident.
“The joy and pleasure that Nick played lacrosse was contagious. He was instantly respected by everyone on the team. What stood out to me the most about Nick wasn’t his relentless style of play, rather it was his sportsmanship. He would be the first guy to knock you down, but he’d be right there to help you back up.
“Not many freshmen are able to come in and offer much to the upperclassmen; however, Nick was. When I first heard of Nick’s passing, I was sitting at a desk working in customer service for a lacrosse company based in Los Angeles.
“As I sat at my desk, I remember wishing I was with my former teammate, and wanting to do something for Nick and his family. I felt alone and isolated, but worst of all, I felt as though I did not have anything to offer.
“As an assistant coach at Whittier College, I feel a sense of responsibly to Nick and the HEADstrong Foundation to spread his story. With the current growth of lacrosse in California, Nick’s story is one that needs to be shared.
“HEADstong Night is the Whittier Men’s Lacrosse Team’s, way of showing appreciation for what Nick brought to the game, as well as, his commitment to fighting this disease so that others may have better chances of survival. As a former teammate and friend, this is a chance for me to carry the ball for Nick.”