St. Vincent tennis team vows to uphold coach’s legacy
Enrico Campi loved tennis so much that he devoted his life to the sport after college – as a coach, a referee and a club manager.
“He was really loved by his tennis family – from the people here to his employees,” said Peach Hayden, of Greensburg.
Hayden, receptionist at the Greensburg Racquet Club in Unity said she worked with Campi for his entire 28 years as club owner and operator. The club will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
“He was a very caring person. He would do anything for you,” she said. “He could be lots of fun, but he could also be tough.”
Mr. Enrico P. Campi, of Greensburg, died unexpectedly Friday, March 31, 2017, at his home. He was 56.
Born in Charleroi on Sept. 30, 1960, he was the son of Silvia Pace Camp and the late Dr. Philip Campi. He graduated from Charleroi High School, Westmoreland County Community College and St. Vincent College, Unity, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1984.
The No. 1 player on the men’s tennis team in the early ’80s, Mr. Campi was hired as the St. Vincent men’s tennis coach upon graduation and worked in that capacity until his death. He also coached the women’s team from 1985 to 1992.
“Enrico was a longtime member of the St. Vincent community,” said the Rev. Myron Kirsch, athletic director. “He touched the lives of so many of our athletes for more than three decades, and his dedication and service to both St. Vincent and the sport of tennis were unmatched.”
As coach, Mr. Campi helped produce a number of local, sectional and national ranked players, several of whom went on to receive scholarships to NCAA Division I and II schools, according to the college’s website.
The men’s team, which called the Greensburg Racquet Club home, practicing and playing home matches there, will soldier on without their coach, said senior Brian Niemiec, 21, of Jeannette.
“It’s been tough, but we’ve really come together as a team. We’re still fighting,” he said. “We’re just extra motivated to complete the season and win the (Presidents’ Athletic) Conference for Enrico.”
The men’s team is 5-2 on the season and 2-0 in conference play. They play next at Waynesburg University on Friday.
Niemiec said he played for Mr. Campi since he was a sophomore. “As a coach, he knew what he was talking about. He always had the exact right thing to say at the right time. He just taught so much to everybody,” he said.
Greensburg Racquet Club receptionist Autumn Miller, 19, of North Huntingdon, said she started taking lessons from Mr. Campi after completing a summer camp at the club at age 15.
“My dad went up to him and asked who I should take private lessons from, and he said he would,” she said. “He pushed you and had a way of bringing out the best in you.”
Miller said Mr. Campi convinced her to go to St. Vincent’s, where she is on the tennis team and a sophomore studying engineering and math.
Mr. Campi was inducted into the St. Vincent College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015.
St. Vincent women’s tennis and lacrosse coach Jym Walters said Mr. Campi was well-respected and well-known in college tennis circles.
“He was a competitive guy. He liked to see his players do well,” Walters said. “He was also really laid back and kept the practices fun.”
He also enjoyed swimming, camping, playing pinball, fly fishing, skiing, golf, bowling, boating, going to the beach and grilling out with friends.
In addition to his mother, Mr. Campi is survived by his wife of 30 years, Molly, and his daughter, Cassandra, both of Greensburg.
Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, Greensburg. Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Vincent Basilica, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Unity.
Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Vincent College Athletic Department, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280 or [email protected].