Braintree High School students and faculty are mourning the death of Kyle Piazza, a math teacher and varsity track coach who died this weekend from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Piazza, a 2001 graduate of North Quincy High School, began working for Braintree High School shortly after graduating from Westfield State in 2005.
A math teacher by trade, Piazza turned his talents to coaching in 2010 when he was hired as the varsity girls' indoor track coach, specializing as a throws coach in the javelin, shot put, and discus. He was also an assistant with the football team, as well as assistant girls' outdoor coach.
Cancer treatment forced Piazza to put a halt on both his teaching and coaching last October.
Today, school administrators said the 28-year-old’s legacy lives on in the minds and hearts of his students.
“He was a great man, especially for what he brought to Braintree High School…passion, persistence, and pride,” said Braintree High athletic director Michael Denise.
“He was the biggest supporter and the biggest positive influence than anyone could be with our students and student athletes ... He always worked with our kids until they understood what they needed to know, and I think as a coach he was a true teacher in his methods and techniques to make the student athletes successful.”
Although he was head coach for the girls' indoor program for just season, his impact was considerable: one athlete broke the school record in the shot put.
“That’s how good of a coach he was and how persistent he was with his student athletes in getting the most out of them every single day,” Denise said.
Overall, Piazza was a successful mentor and teacher, helping out as a game administrator when need be, and being a comrade to much of the student body.
His energy will be missed within the BHS community.
“Outside of coaching and teaching he would play Wiffle ball with his students, would throw a Frisbee, he always seemed to have a following, he had a magnetic personality that students just went to. He’s every young educator a building wishes it could have, because he was such a positive influence,” Denise said.
For now, students, administrators, and friends have been celebrating Piazza’s life, Denise said.
“We’ve kept it in a positive light all day long…and the kids and faculty are supporting each other,” he said.
Grief councilors are available for students at the high school. Additionally, at tomorrow night’s senior night, the girls soccer team will host a 50/50 raffle and be asking for donations. All proceeds will be donated to cancer research.
The football team will also be wearing the letters KP on their helmets for the remainder of the season.
In addition, the new Student Athlete of the Month awards, which will go to a male and female student every month, will be named after Kyle Piazza.
“It’s an individual so young that had so much to offer students in their lives,” Denise said. “It’s just a shame. It doesn’t seem fair.”
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- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
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- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GlobeSchools for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our fall correspondents:
- Anthony Gulizia | @gulizia_a | Div. 1 football
- Eric Russo | @erusso22 | Div. 2 football
- Stephen Sellner | @stephen_sellner | Div. 3 football
- Andrew MacDougall | @Andy_MacDougall | Div. 4 football
- Greg Joyce | @GJoyce9 | Div. 5 football
- Lorenzo Recupero | @LorenzoRecupero | Div. 6 football
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Girls volleyball
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