What’s on Tap?
Owls Pay Tribute to Melanie Coleman
Column by Sam Tapper — Sport Writer
It’s a hard thing to keep moving forward in life when you lose somebody close to you. The process of grieving takes time and is unique to each individual person. After one of the toughest weeks in recent memory for Southern Athletics, the programs are moving forward with heavy hearts.
On Nov. 10th, Southern lost one of its own, as 20-year-old student-athlete Melanie Coleman died after an accident during a training session two-days prior. A member of the gymnastics team, Coleman was a nursing student and an active member of the campus community as well as in the surrounding communities. In addition to competing at the collegiate level, Coleman volunteered at the gym she had been practicing at since her childhood, giving instruction to young prospective gymnasts.
In addition to her family, friends and all other loved ones, the loss has certainly affected the rest of the campus community, the State of Connecticut and all those participating in gymnastics across the country and the world.
As cards and other items left in remembrance and respect of Coleman line the halls of Pelz Gymnasium, one of the buildings the Southern Gymnastics program calls home, the other athletic teams are rallying together to honor the late gymnast.
The women’s soccer team is in the midst of a postseason run, as they are set to play in the NE10 championship game against top-seed Saint Rose on the road. The Owls went on the road
for the first two games, beating Stonehill and then American International to get to the title game. Before that game against AIC, the Yellow Jackets called for a moment of silence to honor Coleman, and the Owls all wore white wrist-tape with messages paying tribute to Coleman written on in sharpie, the most common of which reading: “Fly High, Mel” and “Owl Forever.”
“As important as this win is for us and for the program, Melanie Coleman was in our thoughts today for sure, and I know that was important to the team also,” Owls’ head coach Adam Cohen told SCSU Athletic Communications after the game.
The Owls’ football team also paid their tribute to Coleman in their season finale, as every player on the team had a special decal on their helmets that read “MC.” In addition to putting her initials on their uniforms, a moment of silence was also held at Jess Dow Field after the senior day festivities but before the opening kickoff in Coleman’s honor.
In addition, the Owls’ volleyball team also made T-shirts in Coleman’s honor in which they wore pregame and Southern’s club men’s hockey team also put Coleman’s “MC” initials on the back of their helmets.
Moving forward isn’t easy, but as teams continue to pay tribute, Melanie Coleman will always be in the hearts of those in and around Southern Athletics and she will forever be an Owl.