TRUMBULL — Trumbull High boys’ soccer coach Sebastian Gangemi, known for his passion for the game and for his commitment to his players, passed away on Wednesday after a yearlong battle with leukemia. He was 64.
“What made Sebastian so special was his personality,” Trumbull athletic director Mike King said. “He was a great man, a great coach, a great friend and simply a great person. People loved to be around him.”
Gangemi, who was diagnosed with leukemia in the spring of 2018, moved up the coaching ranks at Trumbull and took control of the reigns in 2005.
Today was a sad day in the Trumbull Soccer Community. Our beloved Coach Sebastian Gangemi passed away from a long illness. Please join us in supporting his family during this very difficult time. We are so proud of him and will miss him forever. #ctbsoc#fciac
— Trumbull Boys Soccer (@TrumbullSoccer1) May 16, 2019
During his tenure, the Eagles captured four FCIAC titles, advanced to the program’s only state final in 2011, and produced a handful of All-State players.
Sil Vitiello was with him every step of the way.
“I met him through the soccer program at Trumbull,” said Vitiello, who Gangemi asked to join the staff. “Eventually, he was the assistant varsity coach. I was working under him. When the head coach resigned, we both moved up in 2005. We were together for an amazing 14 years.
Today Trumbull lost a Coach near and dear to Trumbull Athletics and the entire community. Sebe Gangemi touched so many hearts while here at Trumbull and he will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace to an incredible coach and an even better person. #SebeStrong #EaglePride
— Trumbull Athletics (@TrumbullAthlet1) May 15, 2019
“Sebastian knew how to communicate. We won some titles, we tied for some titles, and we lost some titles. He never blamed anyone. He would gather the team and talk about how to get better, how to learn from it.
“There was no one better at reading the pulse of his team. It was uncanny. Most of all, Sebastian knew how to have fun, make the game fun. His players fed off that.”
King saw both sides of the man.
“You could see how competitive Sebastian was during an 80-minute game,” King said. “When the ball was in play, he was all business. Sebi liked to say, ‘We are here to win.’ But within minutes afterward, he was his jovial self.
“His ability to combine that competitiveness, that passion for soccer, with his dedication to his players, is what led to the team’s success. Sebi had an infectious personality.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.