Photo by Chris Jenkins
The MUW Athletics program paid tribute to women's soccer coach Gray Massey during a visitation at Lowndes Funeral Home on Jan. 30.
There were very few empty parking spaces at the funeral home. There was a quiet air that hung over the room inside. Not sadness, just reverent silence. Jason Trufant, the athletics director at The W, even gently encouraged one crying mourner to smile.
While this is not a memorial that had speakers, there were many stories that could be heard about Coach Massey. Stories about being coached by him and even one former player who woke up his old coach on his wedding day for advice.
It is clear that Massey was loved by just about anyone who came into contact with him. A shrine of game balls— signed all over by teams from the past— were set up behind a collection of pictures of Massey. One picture in particular stood in the middle — Massey and his wife Lauren on their wedding day.
While everyone else was quietly socializing, Lauren was laughing loudly with old players as they reminisced about Coach Gray. Since Massey was a little league soccer coach, there were many small children who simply wanted a hug from Lauren — which she gave with no hesitation. In everything she did there was a sense of happiness and joy. Everyone who saw her and spoke to her seemed to shed their reverent silence, even if it was just for a moment.
If there were any questions as to what Gray Massey loved, they were quickly answered by the decorations. The main flower arrangement that was laying on his casket incorporated goalkeepers’ gloves and a pair of beloved cleats. The gloves and cleats loudly proclaimed that soccer was a huge part of this man's life.
After getting a master’s degree in coaching education from Ohio University, Massey coached soccer at all age and skill levels. It is clear that those he coached loved him and were guided by his mentorship.
All of the MUW Women’s soccer players were clad in their gameday blues watching the PowerPoint of his life. It looked like any other game day — the girls ready to be coached.
As the night went on, more people trickled in — taking their places to speak to the family as others left. The door was not closed for any long length of time. People from all across the nation were there to pay their respects.
Whether an old friend from college or a child who plays little league soccer, Massey seemed to be loved by many people.
Massey’s funeral was held the next day at First United Methodist Church in Columbus.
We here at The Spectator would like to wish Coach Gray Massey’s family and friends — as well as the MUW Athletics Department — our condolences during this difficult time.