When students in Kenosha, Wisconsin wanted to celebrate a beloved local football coach, they did it in a blaze of color, turning the stands orange during a Friday night game.
Frank Matrise Jr. died of kidney cancer on July 11, 2019, age 53. He coached football at St. Joseph Catholic Academy and later at Tremper High School for a combined 34 years.
“I’m just really proud of our student body. It wasn’t just the adults or the families taking the reins; it was really the student body that took the reins and ran with it. They wanted to get a lot of orange things out and get the recognition out there for leukemia and kidney cancer,” said St. Joseph Athletic Director Dave Witthun told the Kenosha News.
“The (students) really wanted to do it themselves. They all came out in droves. Everybody was in orange; they were tweeting about it and talking about it in their classrooms. … Each program just took the bull by the horns and did something.”
The “Go Orange” football game was just one of many ways the community remembered Matrise, a passionate and involved coach, educator, and father to twins Katie and Kyle, including naming a street near Tremper as “Frank Matrise Way” and a donation to the Kidney Cancer Association by St. Joseph.
“I am just so humbled with all the love and support the Kenosha community has given us,” said Matrise’s wife Wendy Matrise in the Kenosha News. “He loved people, he loved family.”