Western New England student-athletes dedicate season to administrator Jody Lemoi

Western New England student-athletes dedicate season to administrator Jody Lemoi

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Western New England athletics department officially kicked-off its Play-for-a-Cause initiative on Thursday, October 2, 2014, by dedicating the season to staff member Jody Lemoi who is battling leukemia.

Lemoi, who serves as the department's Business Manager, is receiving treatment for his illness and is out indefinitely.

Each of the 19 sports teams at Western New England will hold a special Play4Jody Day in his honor throughout the school year.

"My wife and I wanted to personally thank everyone for their support. It's been great to know that we have such a large support group in our corner. We've got, by far, the best support anyone can ask for. There are so many families on our side fighting with me, my wife, mom, sister and brothers, my wife's family, and of course, my Golden Bears Family," Lemoi said in an email to his colleagues this past Thursday.

Athletics director Mike Theulen told the more than 400 student-athletes who attended the event that "Jody is a special person and an important part of our Athletics Family. When one of our family members needs our assistance and support, we rally behind them."

Theulen, his staff, and coaches presented the student-athletes with special Tee-shirts that featured the inscription, "Win or Lose! Respect Yourself, Your Teammates, Your School. Give it your All."

Those were the words former Golden Bears Coach Bill Downes used to encourage his men's soccer teams in the 1970's and 1980's.

Downes, who is 77 years old and now coaching the men's golf team, received the first shirt from two of his former players, Eddy Lindsay, Class of 1978, and Gary "The Captain" LaPerle, Class of 1975.

"Wear this shirt with pride and when things get tough, think of Jody Lemoi and what he's going through," Theulen told the athletes. "All of us are Golden Bears and we're always here for one another."

Lemoi was a wide receiver for four seasons at Western New England from 1998 to 2001 and a three-year starter who served as a team captain his senior season. He led the primarily running team with 26 receptions for 383 yards his final two years.

The Pottstown, PA native also was an assistant coach with the football program and worked as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Administrator at Western New England.

For the past 10 years Lemoi has been the "Voice of the Golden Bears," serving as the Public Address Announcer at the men and women's basketball games.

Lemoi previously worked as a financial advisor associate at Wells Fargo and was the director of operations at Look Park in Northampton. He also was a lecturer in the WNE School of Business from 2005-2010.

Lemoi earned his bachelor's degree in Sport Management and Masters of Business Administration from Western New England.

Western New England football players are wearing a decal with the number 2 (Jody's former number) on their helmets this season to show their support for Lemoi.