Building a Team of Champions to Combat Blood Cancer
How has blood cancer affected me?
My name is Seth Tierney, head coach of the Hofstra University men’s lacrosse team and the son of my hero, Gail Tierney.
Cancer has forever altered my life by taking the life of my mother. Not having her around anymore has left an emptiness with no possible substitute. My mother wore many hats, and at anytime I could have called her my friend, coach, business partner, advisor and supporter.
I will never forget the day that changed my life forever. I was coaching at Johns Hopkins at the time and went into the stands at Homewood Field, to have that dreaded conversation, as my mom said the words, “I have cancer.” Over the next few months, basically living in my car, driving back and forth from Maryland to New York, I found myself having meetings with myself while on the New Jersey Turnpike; talking to myself, crying, thinking, planning and finally deciding which avenue that we should take as we begin the “battle”.
Then, through situations that had nothing to do with me, the Hofstra job was open. After several interviews I was offered the position at Hofstra by the Athletic Director, Mr. Jack Hayes. This opportunity was the ultimate scenario for me and my family. Not only was I fulfilling a dream of mine to become a head coach, but more importantly, it was an opportunity to be by my mother’s side every step of the way. As many of you know, staying positive and seeing a reason to fight is the best medicine on the market. To bring my mother’s grandchildren (Ryan 11, Erin 9) back to New York was better than any chemotherapy or radiation out there.
Enter Nick Colleluori!! My first phone call after officially accepting the Hofstra job was to Nick. Joe Amplo (the Hofstra coach that recruited Nick) brought me up to speed on Nick’s situation and there was an immediate connection. Nick had a tremendous impact on a team that just graduated 13 seniors, nine of which were starters, and a rookie head coach that was trying to find his way. The dedication and strength of this young team, and the Hofstra lacrosse program as a whole, had come from Nick ever since the day he told the team in the locker room that he had cancer.
Nick taught me in a brief period what toughness was and I will be forever thankful to him as I had the definition of toughness all wrong. I want to thank him, his brother Michael, and parents Cheryl and Pat, and the entire Colleluori family for teaching me the correct way to support a loved one that is battling cancer. I took from this more than they will ever know, as it had a direct and positive impact on my relationship with my mom in the final years of her life.
Nick, you are gone, but will never be forgotten, and thank you for being on the sideline for every game.
Mom, I love you and will miss you forever!