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Fitchburg Hall of Famer Retirement.
Ray Cosenza has been the athletic director at Fitchburg High School since 2002, and has been a veteran football and baseball coach in Northern Worcester County since 1985. With the close of this school year, he will do what all great public servants must eventually do: He will step aside and retire, letting the next generation take over. Fitchburg Public Schools announced Friday afternoon that Cosenza will retire this summer, ending 34 years in education. Along with being a coach and AD, Cosenza was a guidance counselor at St. Bernard's, and a gym teacher at Fitchburg High and Memorial Middle School. The number of people Cosenza has influenced has stretched from students to players to fellow coaches and ADs. "Coach Cosenza placed a great deal of importance on continuous improvement," said Fitchburg City Councilor-At-Large Marcus DiNatale, who played on Fitchburg's 12-0 championship -- and FHS Hall of Fame-inducted -- football team in 2000. "Film sessions the Monday after each game were the equivalent of having taken a final exam and learning what your grade was. You go in thinking you did well for the most part, but learn quickly the mistakes you made and how there is always room for you to get better. It's why our 2000 team was so successful. "And coach would never shy away from telling you straight up there is always room for improvement, no matter how successful the team was in any game, especially the ones where we were victorious. Said St. Bernard's baseball coach and former Bernies' AD Jim Beauregard: "When I first started, he gave me some sound advice on what to do and what not to do as far as being an athletic director. He was really gracious to me in our correspondence; he's been around so long and it's a testament to what a good job that he's done and what a fine person that he is at the end of the day. "I've always got along with Ray and I've always respected Ray. Fitchburg High School Athletic Director Ray Cosenza speaks during the 2017 Fitchburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Great Wolf Fitchburg High School Athletic Director Ray Cosenza speaks during the 2017 Fitchburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE FILE PHOTO It's going to be sad to see him go, but you know what? He's going to enjoy retirement, and I'm speaking from experience. I know his daughter is a field hockey coach, so I'm sure he'll have opportunity to go and see her. "He put a lot of time in. He deserves it." Mike Pelland met Cosenza in May 1985, and he quickly became one of Cosenza's confidantes. And it was Pelland, a 1973 Fitchburg graduate, who famously indoctrinated the St. John's grad into Fitchburg athletics in November 1988. "He's a friend, a great friend, a colleague. He's always prepared, always doing what's best for kids. He's a winner, and was involved with bringing happiness to my life that I hadn't experienced for some time: that's winning consistently on Thanksgiving morning," said Pelland, who served as Cosenza's assistant coach at both St. B's and FHS. "A great teacher. He was outstanding. "If I had a son -- at that time -- playing football, I'd want him to play for Ray Cosenza." Cosenza looked Pelland's way to lead the Fitchburg softball team in late 2016. Pelland had been coaching softball at Division 2 Franklin Pierce University. It was a job that had taken him away from his young family in the spring, and his daughter, Kammarie, was playing at Fitchburg. She is now at Framingham State University, where she's getting some playing time with the Rams. "To be with Kam these last two years," Pelland said, "I will always be indebted (to Cosenza) for that." Nashoba Regional Athletic Director Tania Rich was a Chieftain from the start -- Class of 2001 -- and had little experience with Cosenza before she became the AD at her alma mater in 2011. But he quickly became a great friend to her when she took the job. "As a veteran athletic director in the league," she explained, "Ray has been a voice of reason and mentor to me since I became AD at Nashoba. Over the last eight years, he has been a resource and role model, but more importantly has become a great friend. "I am truly going to miss him, but wish him the best in his retirement."
Author: Sean Sweeney