Connecticut field hockey lost one of its passionate pioneers on Friday morning when Haddam-Killingworth coach Patsy Kamercia diedafter a long battle with a rare form of cancer.
Kamercia took a small school like Haddam-Killingworth and built it into a big player on the state level with the powerhouse Cougars coming away with four CIAC Class S titles. That included a Class S co-championship with Shoreline Conference rival Westbrook last season as they played to a 1-1 tie in double overtime.
The Cougars won numerous Shoreline Conference titles, including the 2015 championship in the conference tournament’s second year. Kamercia’s health prevented her from coaching this season. In 2016, she concluded her 42nd season as coach with the aforementioned Class S title and an impressive 461-176-83-6 career record.
“We are devastated by the news,” Haddam-Killingworth athletic director Lynne Flint said. “Patsy is and always will be an incredibly important member of the H-K family. I do not have words to express how greatly she will be missed.”
— GameTimeCT (@GameTimeCT) November 3, 2017
Kamercia also made an impact with coaches and school officials throughout the state.
“We will miss Patsy but she will forever be in our hearts,” Westbrook athletic director Teg Cosgriff said. “This season without her on the sidelines was different for all of us. Her presence in our coaches meetings was also sorely missed. She is not just a Hall of Fame coach but a Hall of Fame person.
“To readily see the impact she has on the lives the of the girls in her program now, but to see and meet the women who have played for her and the esteem they hold for her and speak of her influence on their lives, still today speaks volumes as to the the woman she is.”
Longtime Branford field hockey coach Cathy McGuirk said Kamercia was a positive influence on the sport in Connecticut.
“Patsy was always a class act,” McGuirk said. “She was a coach who has been involved for 41 years in continuing to promote and improve Connecticut field hockey in many positive ways. John (McGuirk’s husband and assistant coach) and I will miss her person and enthusiasm.”
On Thursday, at the Shoreline Conference tournament championship game, as she was still battling the cancer, there was a 10-second shout-out with a standing ovation and continuous clapping to celebrate her impact on the sport.
“She was significant in so many peoples lives it is hard to imagine,” Cosgriff said. “We all are blessed for knowing her, working with her and competing with here. Our thoughts and prayers are with her immediate family and her H-K family.”
Shoreline Conference tribute video via Nick DeLizio, North Branford HS Video Production.