Ludlow boys’ soccer team supporting coach after he suffers major heart attack
LUDLOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - After enduring a medical emergency last week, a Ludlow soccer coaching legend is leaning on the support of the entire community.
“There’s no Ludlow soccer without Greg Kolodziey, so I’m sure he’s going to be back and winning the state championship next year,” said senior forward Sam Cocchi.
Last Thursday, Ludlow High School boys’ soccer coach Greg Kolodziey suffered a major heart attack. He has been a part of the program for over three decades, filling trophy cases.
“He does so much for the community,” Cocchi said. “He helps with younger clinics around town, he does community service, he helps volunteer at everything, anything around town.”
Kolodziey’s family told Western Mass News that he successfully underwent surgery on Monday, the first step in a long road to recovery. His team is banding together to send their coach videos and share their support.
“We love you. Everyone here loves you,” said junior forward Enzo Botta. “We all want you to make it out of this and we all want to see you succeed even more than you already have.”
Greg’s parents are both in the Ludlow Athletics Hall of Fame, including his father Bill, who Ludlow Athletic Director Tim Brillo calls one of his mentors. The family’s impact stretches far beyond the field.
“From an AD perspective, that’s what you want, that he’s created relationships that are meaningful with his athletes,” Brillo told us.
Greg’s story has also captured the attention of local businesses, including EL Nutrition in Ludlow.
“We honored him this whole entire week with the lion’s tea,” said owner Crystal Jimenez. “At the end of the week, we’ll collect all those pictures, make a huge collage for him.”
Greg’s niece Hannah works at the juice bar that first developed a relationship with the team during their state playoff run this fall.
“This was his state championship jacket. I’m wearing it in honor of him,” she said. “I have a lot to choose from.”
We also spoke with former players who stopped by to show their support.
“He’s had such a successful coaching career because he’s been able to motivate people,” former Ludlow soccer player Michael Goncalves told us. “He showed me how to be a great leader, so I think I owe that to him, for sure.”
“It really means a lot to all of us, and he literally would not still be fighting today if it wasn’t for everything this community has done,” Hannah said.
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