WESTPORT -- Westport PAL continued its season-long commemoration of Matt McCoy by paying tribute to the late football coach before friends and family at Staples Stadium on Saturday evening.
In honor of McCoy, who passed away last fall at the age of 43 from esophageal cancer, the youth football league presented his family with a memorial plaque before the game between Westport 8th grade North and Darien 8th grade.
Between 60 and 70 people attended the ceremony as part of "Matt McCoy Day" and remembered McCoy as a man who was truly dedicated to all he did.
"Matt was the guy who emulated everything that was good about youth sports and what PAL stands for," Carmen Roda, director of youth sports and president of Westport PAL football, said on Monday. "He was giving back to the program hands down. He was helping teaching kids about football and life lessons."
Prior to coaching Westport PAL football, which he did for five years, McCoy played nose guard at the University of Michigan (attended from 1986-1990) and then served as a graduate assistant for the Wolverines and an assistant for Eastern Michigan University for seven years.
"We wanted to kind of thank, or at least recognize his efforts and all the work that he put into the program," Chris Dwyer, a longtime Westport PAL coach, said on Friday.
Westport PAL has dedicated its season to McCoy and all the players in the league, ages 8 to 13, have worn helmet stickers showing his initials, "M M." The league has also established a scholarship fund in McCoy's name to help players who are unable to pay to participate in the program.
"Our football program gives out about $10,000 worth of scholarships a year for kids to pay; and giving back to kids and giving them opportunities to participate in something that he was very much into," Roda said.
Roda said that the ceremony was "very humbling" and thanked everyone for coming out to support McCoy.
"It was just an honor to be able to memorialize him and what he stood for in our program for years to come," he said.
Dwyer, who coaches the 5th graders in Westport PAL football, said that the program will continue to dedicate one game each season to McCoy.
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