Orciuch to step down after 20 years of coaching
By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – “Holy cow” were the words that Ray Orciuch said when he arrived at the Foundation Soccer Fields on Maple Avenue on Oct. 14 as he quickly realized what was about to happen. The longtime Shrewsbury Youth Soccer (SYS) coach was greeted by his team, their families and his former assistant coach, Peter Manolakos, who had gathered to surprise and honor Orciuch for his 20 year tenure of coaching.
“Coach Ray,” as he is called, had been the coach of many of these boys since they started playing soccer together around the second or third grade, noted Rebecca Baldor, a parent of one of the players.
“He is always there for the kids and he is an excellent role model,” she added.
Now that they have all matriculated to high school (including his youngest son,) some to Shrewsbury High School and others to St. John’s High School, Orciuch has decided now is the time to step down.
“As a parent group we threw around a lot of ideas on how to honor him but the one thing that we thought would be really nice to do is to be able to donate trees to the park in his honor because I think that exemplifies his commitment to his players and his community service,” Baldor said. “What we also liked about that was the kids could help plant them and watch them grow over the years and not forget how important it is to have community mentors.”
April Prince, parent of Charlie, another team member, shared that they had been working with Kevin Esposito from Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation to coordinate the trees and planting. Bigelow Nurseries in Northborough provided three Pin Oak saplings at wholesale pricing.
“Through the years I’ve noticed that some coaches are about player development and not caring too much about if the team wins or loses, and then there’s coaches that don’t care much about player development and all they really care about is winning or losing,” Manolakos said. [Orciuch] is a hybrid, he cares about both which is a unique combination.”
“Wow – I had no clue!” exclaimed Coach Ray, who was very humbled, in his impromptu remarks at the informal gathering. “You kept the secret well.”
“This has been my honor, not vice versa. You guys have been a joy to me. It was a tough last season for Peter and me because I knew this was coming to a close…I can’t thank you enough, this is fantastic!” he said.