By Paul Burton

STONEHAM (CBS) — The Stoneham community is mourning the loss of beloved coach Jim Carino, who died of coronavirus. On Sunday, he was remembered for his infectious smile, big personality, and leadership.

The 62-year-old was the former Stoneham High School soccer and current tennis coach.

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“A complete icon in the town, to think about the countless people he’s touched,” said former player Anthony Deangelo said.

“It’s hard to celebrate when you’re hurting so much inside. And I think you’re hurting so much because it happened so quick,” said Stoneham Athletic Director David Pignoni, who worked side-by-side with Carino for the last 15 years.

“His legacy was that he was Mr. Stoneham, every kid that went through this place got to know him.  Not only on the athletic field but he was senior class advisor, he organized one of our biggest events here, what we call carnival ball,” Pignoni said.

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Coach Carino’s wake was held at the school. The line extended through the hallways and out the door while folks did their best to social distance. Handmade hearts and tributes to him and his accomplishments were hung in the hallways to memorialize his 30 years of coaching and three state soccer championship titles.

“If he wasn’t home he was here. He was so happy to be here morning, noon, night. Basically, it was his second family,” said family friend Kathleen Duff. “His biggest legacy is the relationships he built with family and friends.”

Deangelo played for Carino back in 2012. “His leadership and his ability to reach every different type of player and get the best out of them. He was more than that though, he was a father to me,” he said.

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The school plans to create a scholarship in honor of Carino.

Paul Burton