Dedicated coach, educator, dies
Dedicated coach, educator, dies
WOONSOCKET – Blackstone Valley’s sports and education communities were in mourning this week following news that Woonsocket’s much-admired Athletic Director George Nasuti succumbed Wednesday morning to injuries suffered last Friday night while he was refereeing a Jayvee basketball game at Burrillville High School.
Funeral services will be private, according to his wife, Carol Nasuti, and sons Christopher and Sean. A public memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 1 at Woonsocket
High School at a time to be announced.
According to Burrillville police and other sources describing the freak accident, Nasuti, 52, was at mid-court and started back-peddling when a player broke loose on a fast break. No one was near him when he reportedly tripped while moving backward at full speed, tumbling, and slamming his head on the floor.
Witnesses said Nasuti was bleeding heavily and was tended to by medical personnel at the game, and then transported to Rhode Island Hospital by town rescue. He suffered a stroke at the hospital, was in a coma and never recovered.
The outpouring of sadness and support for his family was instant on social media Wednesday as Twitter announced the news and a “Prayers for George Nasuti” Facebook page filled with accolades about his tenure as a Woonsocket educator.
Nasuti had been the director of athletics for Woonsocket schools since 2007, administering a high school program of 22 varsity teams, 14 junior varsity teams, two freshmen teams and nine interscholastic sports at the middle school level. Under his guidance, WHS has been re-established as one of the leading interscholastic athletic programs in Rhode Island.
He previously held this position from 1990 to 1995.
The North Smithfield resident, married to Carol Nasuti was a Woonsocket native and graduated from WHS, where he played football, basketball and baseball.
Nasuti was formerly principal of Woonsocket High School, as well as Coleman and Bernon Heights elementary schools.
In 2010 he was named Athletic Director of the Year by the Rhode Island Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, for his efforts to save school sports programs from budget cuts.
Typical of the many, many comments about the man and a life dedicated to youth, a somber Tom Brien, part of the Woonsocket sports scene for years, told The Breeze, “He touched so many people in a positive way and helped hundreds of Woonsocket kids by single-handedly finding creative ways to fund programs and keep school sports running.”
Brien, who worked as a middle school baseball coach under Nasuti, noted, “It was George who stepped up and led fund-raising efforts when the School Department was considering dropping school sports because of budget constraints a few years ago.”
Nasuti also led by example. He not only recruited volunteer coaches for baseball, basketball and softball at the middle school level, he also refereed games himself to save costs.
And on Facebook, comments Wednesday morning showed his dedication had been noticed by adults and former students.
“The Novans have lost a true advocate. His fight will be missed. God bless his family in this time of need,” said Tina Trinque-Fugere.
“Such a sad and tragic reminder of how precious life truly is. Wishing peace and comfort to the family and the many friends whose lives he so deeply touched,” wrote Christine Ward Hammond.
“There are no words for this terrible loss. George was such a positive and caring man. My deepest sympathies to his family,” said Kathy Orlowsky Palmieri
“You were an amazing man who will be deeply missed by so many,” said Stacey Lynne Peckham
Check The Breeze website for updates on funeral arrangements.