The Saugus Middle-High School sports stadium was dedicated in memory of football, baseball and hockey coach Chris “Christie” Serino last Friday night at halftime during Senior Night.
The Wickford Street resident died in 2012 from environmental cancer at the age of 63. The 1967 Saugus High School All American tri-sport athlete taught physical education for approximately 20 years and coached baseball, football and hockey, touching many players’ lives in the process.
Former teammate Coach Robert Maccini, who paid his respects at Serino’s gravesite earlier that day, said Serino was a father figure to everyone. “He was the greatest hockey mind that ever was,” Maccini said. “He guided endless players and helped them not only graduate high school but enroll in college.”
One of those students, James Quinlan, spoke publicly at the dedication about his guidance, adding that Serino was a father figure to him. “I never would have graduated high school if it wasn’t for him,” Quinlan said. “I very easily could have gone down the wrong path, but he taught me about life.”
Cousin Thomas O’Connell said Serino had the “secret sauce,” a combination of a charismatic personality along with a unique coaching style. “He knew when to knock you down and when to pick you up,” O’Connell said. “Everyone gravitated toward him.”
Serino’s son Matthew said the family is honored to have a stadium named after his father. “Saugus meant the world to him,” Matthew Serino said. “[The complex] is a symbol of our rich athletic tradition; it is the excellence that he always strived for.”
Christie Serino’s sister, Maddie Glavin, said the family is proud of the athlete that he was, adding that when he fought his courageous cancer battle, he didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him.
Christie Serino’s brother, Frank, said that when people met him, it’s like they’d known him for 10 years.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Anthony Cogliano said Serino was his coach, mentor and friend. “He was the kind of guy you’d give 100% for…so I always gave 110%,” Cogliano said. “I loved him – as did all of his players – and I’m thrilled to have played a part in his dedication.”
(Advocate photos by Tara Vocino)