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‘All in, all the time:’ Anderson community rallies around family of fallen coach

Coach Celenza was the sort of man who lifted others up. Now the community he loved is lifting up his family in his absence.
Updated: Feb. 17, 2021 at 10:22 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It was nearly one year ago when the sudden death of Anderson High School assistant basketball coach Danny Celenza shocked an entire community.

Danny Celenza
Danny Celenza(wxix)

Early in the morning on March 5, 2020, Celenza had just finished weight lifting at the school and was walking to his truck when he collapsed on the ground. The cause of death was later diagnosed as sudden cardiac arrhythmia.

“I had to call [Danny’s wife] Sarah to tell her Danny was on his way to the hospital,” said head football coach Evan Dreyer. “That phone call still lives with me.”

It didn’t take long for the entire community to rally around the Celenza family — his wife Sarah and his two young children, Ruby and Jasper.

“Danny was everything,” said Dreyer. “He was the basketball coach, a scorekeeper and a football coach all around. He was all in, all the time. When you’re all in all the time, you take it more to heart, because how can you lose someone [like that,] and you wonder how can you take care of three people he loved?”

Celenza was more than just a coach, but he was most passionate about basketball. His impact and energy lifted others — a man so “all in” that the entire area went “all in” on giving back to his family when he passed away.

“Losing him was like losing a second father to me,” said senior basketball player Jake Parrish, who had recently lost his father and leaned on Celenza before his death.

“A good person, a good father and a great husband,” said head basketball coach Frank Brandy. “He lived a lot of lessons you can learn a lot from. He lived his life like a lot of us wish and hope we can.”

Anderson football players signed a football for Danny Celenza's kids after his passing
Anderson football players signed a football for Danny Celenza's kids after his passing(wxix)

The basketball team wore his initials “D.C.” on every warm-up shirt this season and dedicated the season to him.

The football team signed their names on a football and hand-delivered it to the Celenza family.

The school created a a character award in honor of Danny.

University of Cincinnati head basketball coach John Brannen, knowing Danny was a lifelong Bearcats fan, reached out to Sarah several times in the past year.

Anderson basketball team poses with Sarah Celenza and kids
Anderson basketball team poses with Sarah Celenza and kids(wxix)

Most of all, the Anderson community spent an entire year giving a family who lost a giant, a giant dose of love.

“If he hadn’t been who he was to the whole community, and our family and friends, we wouldn’t be surrounded by the support and the love and kindness,” said Sarah Celenza. “Probably his greatest gift to all of us was that he made sure that people were in our life.”

“It’s like, how can I be a better husband and a better father because he was all in, all the time,” said Dreyer.

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