MAHOPAC, N.Y. – No player will ever wear No. 62 again for Mahopac football.
The jersey number of Mike Kozloski, who played offensive and defensive tackle for the Indians, will be retired at Mahopac’s home game on Friday, Oct. 4.
Kozloski, a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was fatally injured on Thursday, Jan. 31, in a crane accident while on duty in the town of Homer, Alaska, where he was stationed. He was 35.
“Koz,” as he was known by his friends, was called up to the varsity football team as a sophomore. He was a natural athlete and leader, said friend Ally Mosiello.
“He was just a great person,” Mosiello said.
The two friends played the same position and competed for playing time, but Kozloski never missed a chance to help Mosiello improve. Years later, Kozloski was the best man at Mosiello’s wedding.
“He was always there to help someone out,” Mosiello said. “He was the type of person who made 30 hours out of the day. He always had time to help people out no matter how busy he was.”
After Kozloski’s death, Mosiello suggested the idea of retiring his number to Frank Miele, Mahopac’s athletic director, who immediately jumped on board.
“We had hundreds of kids who passed through here,” Miele said. “But [Kozloski] was a kid who everyone just loved being around.
“He went to practice every day, he had a great career, walked that very straight line,” he added.
Kozloski joined the Coast Guard almost immediately after graduating from Mahopac High School in 2001. Two years later, he married his high school sweetheart, Brienne. They had four children: Madeline, Bayleigh, Cassidy, and Michael.
The stars aligned to make Oct. 4 a night to remember in Mahopac, Miele said.
Coincidentally, on the same night, Mahopac had already scheduled a ceremony at the football game honoring the community’s first responders, active military members and veterans.
Also, when Miele checked the current football roster, no player had claimed No. 62.