Students and staff at Berlin High School are mourning the loss of longtime wrestling coach, James Day.
School officials said the 64-year-old died last week due to complications from the flu and pneumonia.
He was a wrestling coach, a special educator, and athletic director at Berlin High School for 36 years.
Throughout these many years, Day left behind a legacy of hard work and commitment to students and staff that will be sorely missed.
"He's a guy that forged many friendships amongst his wrestlers and his athletes and his students as well,” said Salvatore Urso, principal of McGee Middle School.
Urso said he knew Day well.
“I served as a wrestler on his team, I happened to be one of the captains on the 1986 championship team. The first of his many teams that won the state tournament,” Urso said.
Day had nearly 450 victories throughout his coaching career and was inducted into the New England Hall of Fame and National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Connecticut chapter.
“We were inducted into the hall of fame a few years back and we got this little medallion which everybody on the team was able to get and I keep it with me because it's something that was important to me it was many, many years ago but it serves as a reminder as some of the hard work that he instilled in us,” Urso said.
The 64-year-old passed away on Thursday, school officials, said but the exact cause is still unclear.
“I think in my current job as a principal now I also was able to serve with him as an assistant coach and that team also won the state championship the guy definitely knew about success,” Urso said.
His lessons on the mat were also about life, and they were lessons that will always be relevant.
"Been wrestling for four years under coach Day. Friday was a hard day for the team but they got us all together in the morning and we were there for each other,” said Matthew Pampuro, a senior who wrestles at Berlin High School.
At the state open wrestling championships on Saturday, a tribute was made.
"Before the finals they had a big ceremony honoring coach Day and it was nice to get the whole team there and I mean it was a sad moment but it was good to have past and present members of the team there for day,” Pampuro said.
His name will always be found in Berlin High School.
“Just a few weeks ago after one of our basketball games we unveiled the hall of fame display we have right here behind us and Jim was a major part in getting this whole thing rolling and I’m glad he was able to have this come to fruition and he was able to see it,” Urso said.
Coach Day's calling hours are 4-7 Monday evening, and family had any donations made out to the Jim Day Memorial Scholarship.
Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.