On Saturday, April 18, 2015 the Marquette Golden Eagles hosted the Duke Blue Devils in the HEAD Coaches Classic at Hart Park in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin at 1 p.m. Central time. The game was nationally televised on CBS Sports Network and gathered a capacity crowd, drawing fans from surrounding states and Canada.
The event helped raise awareness and funds in support of the HEADstrong FoundationTM, a cause that holds special meaning to both head coaches, Marquette’s Joe Ample and John Danowski of Duke.
Amplo not only played for, but also coached alongside Danowski, during his tenure at Hofstra University, where the pair recruited and coached HEADstrong founder, Nicholas Colleluori. Both coaches were directly involved with the Colleluori family during Nick’s 14-month battle against cancer and continue to be active with the organization he created. While eight years have passed since his untimely passing, Colleluori’s legacy continues to grow through the coaches that he loved and knew him best.
“I have learned so much about life through Nick’s incredible journey,” Amplo said. “Cancer did not define or change Nick, in the last days of his life, he was still the same Nick that I recruited and the same Nick that played his heart out for us. He was one of the most charismatic individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I consider myself privileged to have coached him.
“To this day I keep a picture of Nick in my office that always serves as my source of encouragement and inspiration. This is an amazing time for Marquette men’s lacrosse and several of our players actually played for the HEADstrong Lacrosse Club and know the Colleluori family personally. With Duke University on our home schedule this year, we knew that this was the perfect opportunity to honor Nick Colleluori and the relentless efforts of the HEADstrong Foundation. Coach Danowski and I have a very special relationship with each other, and the Colleluori family, and we are excited to face-off for the cause this April.”
To honor Colleluori and the HEADstrong FoundationTM, both Marquette and Duke played the game wearing the foundation’s iconic lime green shoelaces and chinstraps. Additionally, the goals were strung with HF’s lime green nets.
HF President and Nick’s mother, Cheryl Colleluori, addressed the crowd prior to the game and recognized the relentless efforts of both coaches. HEADstrong had an awareness station at the game and sold the latest HF merchandise with proceeds supporting their mission.
“Both Joe Amplo and John Danowski have a very special place in our hearts,” Cheryl Colleluori said. “I still get very emotional when speaking with either of them, because of all that we have been through together. Our Nick had the upmost respect for both of them. We are so glad that Nick, despite only being there one year prior to his diagnosis had the opportunity to play for such amazing men. One of hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life was tell my son that he had cancer and both Joe and John were by our sides. They supported Nick and our family during our darkest days and continue to be involved in honoring Nick.”
For more information on the HEADstrong FoundationTM and learn how to get your team involved, please visit www.HEADstrong.org.