The La Salle University community in Philadephia, Pa. is mourning the sudden loss of long-time head cross country and track coach Charles Torpey, who passed away July 1, 2011.

Charles Torpey was a 1971 graduate of New Milford High School, where he excelled as a cross country and track & field athlete, and studied post-graduate at Canterbury School.

Coach Torpey won 16 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year honors, including 13 in cross country, and led his teams to 15 Atlantic 10 championships during his illustrious 17-year tenure at La Salle.

"We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Charles Torpey," Director of Athletics Dr. Tom Brennan said. "He was clearly a great track and cross country coach -- as evidenced by his many awards and successful runners. "

"More importantly, however, coach Torpey positively affected the lives of the numerous student-athletes who came through La Salle's program over the last 17 years," he added. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Janice, and children, Christopher, Brian and Jenna, during this very difficult time."

In cross country, coach Torpey's LaSalle teams captured 13 A-10 championships. His men's team won four straight from 2001 to 2004 and added titles in 1999, 2006, and 2007. On the women's side, the Explorers won four consecutive championships from 2004 to 2007 and titles in 2001 and 2002.

Nine individual runners captured individual Atlantic 10 cross country titles under coach Torpey's guidance, including five straight women's championships from 2002 to 2006.

His teams have been ranked regionally every year since 1998. He tutored 41 all-district runners, nine NCAA qualifiers and two all-Americans during his tenure.

In track and field, the Explorers won a pair of A-10 championships.

Nearly 300 athletes won individual A-10 track titles and 20 won conference Most Outstanding Performer recognition. He coached seven all-Americans and 51 NCAA regional qualifiers.

Coach Torpey was previously the head coach at the University of Maryland from 1981 to 1988 where he coached 12 all-Americans and 13 Atlantic Coast Conference track champions.

A graduate of Keene State in New Hampshire, coach Torpey is survived by his wife, Janice, and children Christopher, Brian and Jenna.

Funeral arrangements were pending this weekend.

This story is courtesy of the LaSalle University website.