During a distinguished career as a cross country and track coach at Greenwich for five decades, Bill Mongovan finished with 431 cross country wins and 731 victories in total.
But his former athletes will tell you that the extent of Mongovan’s reach went far beyond statistics.
“Mongo meant a lot to a lot of us,” said Maddie Robinson, who was the captain of the Cardinals’ girls outdoor track team in 2018 and now attends the University of Virginia, referring to Mongovan by his nickname. “I personally can say he’s the reason I have the work ethic I do and at the heart of it the reason that I care about people in the way that I do and the reason I believe in people in the way that I do.”
Mongovan, a member of the FCIAC Hall of Fame, passed away on Dec. 21 at the age of 78.
Robinson and Alex Kosyakov, a 2019 graduate and member of the boys track team, as well as a number of Greenwich athletes want to make sure that Mongovan’s legacy is perpetuated. They have set up a memorial fund on a GoFundMe page.
According to a release, “The goal of this organization is to first cover the costs of proper memorial efforts for Mongo, and the remainder of the fund will go towards developing a scholarship award for outstanding Greenwich High School student athletes who live up to the ideals of Coach Mongovan.”
So far $2,421.00 has been raised for the fund.
Mongovan was considered a pioneer in the growth of girls cross country, helping to get it elevated from club status at Greenwich.
“We wanted to pay him his proper respects at first,” Robinson said. “Since then it has evolved into wanting to make a lasting memory of Mongo in the track community. He’s been around for so long and we want the energy he gave us to stick around. With any extra money we have attending to his burial we want to pay it forward, the energy that he gave us, and we want to have a memorial, like a scoreboard by the track. One of our goals is to establish a scholarship for a promising athlete who shows the same kind of work ethic that Mongo liked in all of us and brought out in all of us.”