Rider community gathers to remember coach and counselor Sally Carei-Martinez
That was the message Sally Carei-Martinez imparted to the athletes and students she mentored as a member of the Rider community for 18 years ― first as an assistant cross country and track & field coach and then in the Counselor Office of the Student Support Services (SSS) Program.
Martinez died on September 27, 2013, after nine-year battle with cancer.
A remembrance ceremony held by the SSS Program will take place at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 25, 2013, in the Gill Chapel. All staff, faculty, students and alumni are welcome to attend.
"Her door was always open for anybody," said Dana Lopes, a friend and colleague who is the assistant director of SSS Program.
Lopes is one of many who will pay tribute to Martinez at the ceremony, reflecting on their friendship, as well as Martinez’s generous spirit.
"She was great at helping students see their strengths, getting them to reach their goals and helping them recognize that obstacles were challenges," Lopes said. "That's probably the same way she coached."
Rider's SSS Program offers academic support primarily to first-generation college students. It aims to help students meet their academic, personal and career goals by providing routine counseling, guidance and assessments.
Originally from Vineland, NJ, Martinez was voted the 1980s “Runner of the Decade” in South Jersey. She was the women’s distance coach at Florida International from 1990 to 1993, earning the Trans American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year at FIU three years in a row, from '91 to '93.
Martinez joined Rider in 1994 as a running coach after moving to Bordentown. Two former athletes who she coached will speak at the ceremony.
Martinez joined the SSS Program in 2003, where she counseled mostly first-generation college students in achieving their goals at Rider and beyond. Going beyond the responsibilities of her job, she welcomed students and athletes into her home, inviting them in for holidays and other occasions.
"Sally was a perfect addition to our staff," Lopes said. "She was very good at instilling a sense of belief, letting the students know she had expectations of them and that they could meet them."
Martinez was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She survived that battle, but the cancer returned in 2008 and again in 2012.
Martinez died on September 27, 2013.
She is survived by her husband and three children: Samantha, a sophomore at Queens University of Charlotte; Jared, a sophomore at Bordentown Regional High School; and Liam, a fourth-grader at Macfarland Intermediate School.