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Another member of CV family dies

December 18, 2002

Edgar Melik-Stepanyan

Yet again, tragedy has struck Crescenta Valley High School and the

La Crescenta community.

Pat Kennelly, who recently finished his first year as an assistant

football coach at CV, was found dead Sunday. He was 29.

Lt. Hamilton Rodrigues of the Maui Police Department said

Kennelly drowned in turbulent surf in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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"He was standing on a ledge and was struck by a wave," Rodrigues

said Tuesday. "The ocean was treacherous."

A large wave struck Kennelly -- the 1989 Pacific League Defensive

Player of the Year -- and swept him off a 25-foot cliff, Maui Police

Sgt. Kevin Kahaialii told the Maui News. A search team was called in

around 1 p.m., and a rescue helicopter spotted his body near the

shore.

It was unclear if Kennelly drowned or died from head injuries,

Maui Assistant Fire Chief Gordon Cordeiro told the Maui News.

The National Weather Service had issued a high-surf advisory

Sunday, when surf heights reached nearly 20 feet.

"It was a rough day on Sunday," Rodrigues said.

Kennelly's death marked the second passing of a prominent Falcon

athlete in less than seven months. James Jenkins, a 2001 graduate,

died May 29 from injuries to his neck that were caused when he was

swept down a waterfall.

On Tuesday, Kennelly's former coaches and colleagues remembered a

dedicated athlete and loving father.

"I think there is still a lot of shock," CV football Coach Alan

Eberhart said of the two-year varsity linebacker. "I don't think the

reality that this particular young man is gone has hit a lot of

people. You just don't know. He was there a minute ago and now he's

gone.

"I don't believe that kid is gone. It magnifies it even more that

he's not a kid. He's a young man who has four kids. I can't even

comprehend that."

Falcon Athletic Director Jim Beckenhauer -- who was Kennelly's

head coach on the varsity level -- recalled a 1990 graduate who

helped transform the CV football program.

"I think he changed our football program around," Beckenhauer

said. "We were on a bad streak and on a low for a while. He just

changed it around with his attitude and with his leadership. He

started some of the traditions that we still use, as far as

maintaining camaraderie with the team.

"He led by example and forced his teammates to follow. He was an

outstanding leader."

After high school, Kennelly continued his playing career at

Glendale Community College, where he earned All-Western State

Conference second-team honors as a sophomore.

"He's probably one of the finest kids I've ever met," Vaquero

Coach John Cicuto said. "He was so competitive and had an incredible

passion for football.

"He was kind of a throwback to the old days. He had that same

passion and feeling about school and life that kids had 25 years

ago."

Kennelly's family could not be reached for comment. Cicuto said a

memorial service will be held Friday at Christian Assembly Church in

Eagle Rock.

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