Anthony LaRezza: Friend, Sports Fanatic, Championship Coach, Rutts Hut Fan, Firefighter and Spiritual Man

There are moments where words will never tell the true story.

Such is the case today, as the news of the passing of Anthony LaRezza shuttered through. The news came with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Anthony’s faith had guided him, as he worked through some health issues. He never wavered, instead he did what he loved most, which was coaching high school softball.

Immaculate Heart Academy was Anthony’s stomping grounds, as he guided that program to greatness, including the 2015 NJSIAA, Non-Public A championship, with a team of all underclassmen.

larePhoto by Sean Reilly…Anthony celebrating another state championship last spring. What a moment.

There was that moment, when the winning run scored in the state final, at Kean University, where Anthony jumped up and down in pure joy, as IHA won, 1-0, in extra innings. Anthony had coached state champions before, but this team was special. And has he celebrated with the kids, on the field, drenched in Gatorade, he was quick to remind those kids that 2016 would be just as good.

larLaRezza was a legend.

I’ve written about him for years, on this blog. We had more fun at his tournaments than one deserved to have. We talked about sports trivia, movie trivia, horse racing, and anything else that popped up. But when it came to his players, man, that was special.

indexI will stop at Rutts and have a few for my pal…

Anthony and I had just spoken recently. He called to let me know that he would be going through some treatments, but that he and I would be meeting up soon, at Rutts Hut, for some rippers. Anthony loved that place.

I had taken him to Rutts, a few days after the state championship last spring, to celebrate.

iha 2Anthony loved coaching IHA. Ed Bates (second row, far left) was his friend, too.

Pictures will tell a much better story of Anthony. This was a fun-loving guy, but also a devoted parent. He was the constant whirlwind.

ihaLaRezza’s 2015 IHA team would win what some called an improbable state championship.

But he always had time to say hello. He always made sure to congratulate an opposing team, win, or lose, on Twitter, after a game.

The last tweet, on Jan. 26, was perfect LaRezza.

On April 30th we play in the Coaches vs Cancer event. will donate 1 dollar for every Retweet to pediatric cancer research. Goal 1000

It was about a softball game, of course, and the ultimate goal to raise money for cancer research. There was always a goal, always a motivation.

iha 2It was a special day in 2014, when Stef Thomas won her state-record 113th game for IHA.

I’ll miss this man more than I can ever describe. I’m not quite sure how I can go to a softball game this spring, and watch. However, the last thing Anthony would ever want is for anyone to feel bad.

iha

Anthony LaRezza was so many things. But most of all, he was a man. He stood for decency, integrity and, having a lot of fun.

downloadTypical Anthony, taking in a softball game, even if his team wasn’t playing, at IHA.

I still want to call your cell and hear you say ‘hello’. Or just get a text from you.

20111012-233439LaRezza often liked to tell the story of the chicken and the pig.

Something…

I always believe God has a better plan. And sometimes, we are faced with surprises when He calls someone home. Anthony always believed that, and I feel somewhat happy in that Anthony will flash that smile again. And one day, we’ll all see each other.

He always loved my horse racing analogies, especially calling Stef Thomas, Affirmed.

And Anthony always got a kick out of my ‘get your popcorn ready’ quote, for a big softball game.

stock-photo-4276574-bag-of-popcorn

Thank you, pal. I’ll never forget you.

 

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By mike051893

14 comments on “Anthony LaRezza: Friend, Sports Fanatic, Championship Coach, Rutts Hut Fan, Firefighter and Spiritual Man

  1. Sorry Mike. What a shame, I know he was a special friend.

          On Thu, Feb 04, 2016 at 02:19 PM, Mike Lamberti, From Margate To Cleveland, And Back ! wrote:    

    mike051893 posted: “There are moments where words will never tell the true story.

    Such is the case today, as the news of the passing of Anthony LaRezza shuttered through. The news came with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

    Anthony’s faith had guided him, as he worked th”

  2. Mike….what a great tribute to Anthony. My girls, Lyndsay and Jessica, never had the honor to play for Anothony…they were always in the other dugout. However, their 5 years of travel ball and high school ball in New Jersey would not have been as memorable without meeting and becoming friends with Anthony. Win or lose, we would always look forward to our talks and our shared laughter with Anthony! He was a great guy who cared about his girls and the world of softball…he will be missed by all!

  3. Great Post !! Unfortunate Reason, What a shock, Never knew he was fighting cancer. We had a rivalry but always had great respect. My condolences to the Softball World. God Bless his family and his other family his team.

    Bob Mayer

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