NEW YORK – Former Columbia University goalkeeper Alexander Aurrichio has passed away. He was killed in a bicycling accicdent in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Aurrichio, a standing on the men’s soccer and baseball teams, was 30.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Alex’s parents, siblings and family,” said Columbia head coach Kevin Anderson, who coached Aurrichio from 2008-11. “Words cannot describe the impact that they all have had on our program and as individuals.
“Alex’s love and passion for Columbia men’s soccer and his teammates was second to none. When he walked into a room you knew it, and he made you feel it deep into your soul. His personality and smile were even larger than he was. He was a guy who always looked to grow, challenged himself, held guys accountable and only played to win while truly enjoying the challenge and opportunity.
“Mrs. Aurrichio is the reason that we have the family post-game meals. She came to me one day and said, ‘we need to have family and player post-game meals so we can start to become a community and celebrate being together. It certainly will be better when we win games.’ She took the lead and those meals still go on today.
“Alex was the beginning of change for this program. He got the most out of every day and the most out of everyone. He will be deeply missed. May he rest in peace.”
At Half Hollow Hills West High School, Aurrichio was a three-sport star, playing soccer, baseball and basketball. The 6-6, 220-lb. goalkeeper backstopped the soccer team’s march to the 2007 Long Island Class A crown, blanking Massqapequa, 1-0.
In his four years at Columbia, Aurrichio was a starter on the men’s soccer and baseball teams. He earned the starting goalkeeper role his first semester on campus in the fall of 2008 and maintained it all the way through his senior year. As a sophomore, he played every minute of every match in goal, recording 76 saves that included a nine-save performance in a shutout against nationally ranked Dartmouth.
He was also impressive on the baseball diamond. Aurrichio was a two-time All-Ivy League selection, including a first-team honoree as a sophomore after slugging a team-high 13 home runs. He finished his career third on Columbia’s all-time home runs list (23), adding 88 RBI and 69 runs scored in 140 career games. His 13 home runs from 2010 still rank third in single-season history.
“We were deeply saddened to learn of Alex’s passing and are sending our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones,” said Columbia baseball head coach Brett Boretti, who also coached Aurrichio for four years. “My players and staff always thought of Alex as the most fun-loving player, who was a great teammate and person every single day. He was a huge personality that everyone fed off of and enjoyed being around.”
Originally from Dix Hills, New York, Aurrichio moved to Australia in 2014 in hopes of pursuing a career in the Australian Football League.
Over the past five years, Aurrichio represented numerous clubs across Australia. He most recently played for the Waratah Football Club in the Northern Territory Football League. The club released a statement to the Aurrichio family that read in part, “Please take some comfort in knowing [Alex] was loved by his family, spreading across Australia. His Waratah mates are currently getting together to support each other after the loss of their beloved teammate.”