Chris Serino, a multi-sport standout in his high school career at Saugus and most recently the athletic director and hockey head coach at Malden Catholic, died on Monday, Lancers assistant coach Phil Antonelli says.
Serino, 63, had been battling throat cancer. He was a three-sport standout (baseball, football, hockey) at Saugus High, where his No. 5 hockey jersey is retired at the Kasabuski Arena Ice Skating Rink. His hockey coaching resume included stops at Northfield Mount Hermon, Harvard and the University of New Hampshire, in addition to seven seasons at Merrimack College. He took over the Merrimack bench in 1998, becoming the sixth head coach in program history. He also served as athletic director in his tenure at Merrimack.
Serino also served as baseball head coach at UNH.
After stepping down from both posts at Merrimack, Serino landed in the same positions at Malden Catholic. There, he led the Lancers to a Super 8 tournament state title in 2010-11. He stepped back from the hockey program for the 2011-12 season in early November after being diagnosed with throat cancer. The Lancers capped a repeat performance last year as Super 8 champions, dedicating the season to their ailing coach.
"The thing about Chris was that he was selfless," Antonelli said Monday evening. "Everything he did was with the kids in mind. I didn't matter if you were a hockey player, or just student at the school, he tried to help as many people as he could. That's the legacy he'll leave behind."
Funeral services will be announced at a later time.
When reached for comment, former Lancers captain Mike Vecchione, now with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, offered memories of his former coach:
"Coach Serino was an exceptional man that cared more for the game than anyone I know," Vecchione wrote. "He was passionate about his players and I'm thankful to have had the chance to play for him.
"He was more than just a coach to me; he was someone I could go to for anything and I'll miss him a great deal. He taught me never to give up no matter what the circumstances and is the architect behind my success. I'll never forget what he did for me and I love him."