Page 42 - CHSCA.Issue 1 2019-2020
P. 42

A Beloved CT Track & Field Coach
 by Barbara Hedden,
CHSCA Girls Outdoor Track & Field Committee Chairperson
Some individuals fill a room when they walk into it, their presence being felt by all. Corey Pusey filled a stadium.His smile was infectious and his love of track & field contagious. It was what propelled the athletes he coached and the coaches with whom he worked. His passing has sent a bewildering hush over that stadium.
Corey Pusey died suddenly Tuesday September 10 at Hartford Hospital after suffering a massive stroke the previous Saturday. Corey, 40, was the head coach of the Tolland High School girls track team and was an assistant coach for 15 years for boys and girls at Tolland High School. He had many other roles including working at Woodland School, in the Army National Guard, and as a security guard at Shea’s Pizzeria & Sports Bar.
In 2015, he was named the Connecticut High School Coaches Association (CHSCA) Outdoor Track & Field Assistant Coach of the Year. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rockville High Athletic Hall of Fame.
At Rockville High School in Vernon, Corey Pusey was a star athlete in track, basketball, and soccer who would go on to be a stellar athlete at the University of Connecticut, where he became the 2001 Big East shotput champion. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2002 as an accomplished athlete with much to offer the world of track & field.
It was his collaboration with Tolland coach Corey Bernier that would help shape Tolland into a powerful force in the world of track & field in Connecticut. They would meet together and plan out
how to make the team better.
Corey Bernier referred to Pusey as
“the only person I’ve met that I think loved track more than me. I love track at all levels but you’re not going to find a person more tuned into the sport than him. And not just the throws, every single event there is. And that carried over to our team. Once the throws were done he was timing splits for the 3200 or 4x4 and cheering as loud or louder than me. And if you have ever heard me at a meet you know that’s pretty loud. His outgoing personality was infectious and not just to our team. If you spent any time at a throws circle or javelin runway you knew who he was. And if you needed a tip or wanted to talk track he was there. Didn’t matter what school you were throwing for or what kid you came to
watch the big man would be just as supportive as that kid’s mom or dad. It didn’t stop there, he would attend all sorts of school functions to support our kids. Different sports, music events, if a kid from Tolland was doing something there was a good chance you might run into him. “
Corey Pusey was respected by coaches and athletes throughout the state. In the neighboring town of Coventry, Coach Bill Vanderrest had many words of praise for him. Bill remarked that “Corey was a great coach who knew what he was talking about, how to coach it, and how to coach kids. At the beginning of the season I would ALWAYS tell my throwers that if they are at a meet, go stand near Corey and listen. If he tells you to try something during a meet, you do it and tell me because maybe I can learn something from it. If he is talking to someone else, listen to him, because he’s a great coach and you might pick something up. Corey
and I had no problem helping each other’s kids at meets, especially if the throwing areas were far apart. I knew my kids would be in good hands if Corey was there. This is a huge loss for Tolland, but it is also a huge loss for the thrower’s community. My throwers at Coventry admired and respected him, and so did I.”
It is within this community of track & field in Connecticut that as we mourn his loss we will also be filled with many warm memories. The picture of “Big Corey” in my mind’s eye as he walks on the field and talks to his athletes brings not only a tear to my eye but a smile to my face. A smile for the many great memories we will all hold onto.
Corey Bernier mention one....”I’ll never forget the day I walked over to
  PAGE 42 • CONNECTICUT COACH • ISSUE 1 – 2019-2020

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