LOWELL -- When it comes to high school wrestling in Massachusetts, the Bossi surname is synonymous with success.
Legendary Lowell High School coach George Bossi is the patriarch of the Red Raiders' grappling dynasty. Bossi also passed along his love and knowledge of the sport to his sons, Mark, Michael and Jeffrey.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Michael Bossi certainly did plenty of legacy leaving while wrestling for Lowell's rival on the mat, Chelmsford High, where he won a pair of Division 1 state titles in the early 1980s.
Michael Bossi, who graduated from Chelmsford High in 1982, passed away unexpectedly earlier this week. Besides coach Bossi and his brothers, Michael, 50, is survived by two children, Matthew and Kristina, and a grandchild.
According to his obituary, the Bedford resident died unexpectedly Tuesday at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington.
"Anyone who is a parent can understand the pain and sadness felt by coach Bossi, his two sons, and of course, Michael's children," said former Lowell wrestling standout/head coach Tim O'Keefe. "I've only met him a few times, but I knew through coach that Michael was a great athlete, a great father and a great son.
"He was a hard-working guy. From what I know about Michael he was just like coach, he loved to fish and the outdoors. He was a great wrestler. He was a state champion at Chelmsford and is part of their great tradition. I know coach was very proud of him. My prayers are with the family.
Michael Bossi was a fixture in the Lions' wrestling lineup during his time at Chelmsford High.
"When I heard the news I happened to be at the high school and I went down to the wrestling room and looked up at our state championship board and saw his name up there for winning state titles in 1981 and 1982," said long-time Chelmsford High wrestling coach Bruce Rich. "I have a lot of great memories of my time coaching him. Michael was a true champion. He was a hard-working individual.
"He had a great sense of humor and was fun to be around. He was captain of the wrestling team and a great leader in our program."
Bossi was The Sun's Wrestler of the Year in 1982. He also played football at Chelmsford High.
"When I first heard the news (of Michael's passing) I was stunned," said Bossi's Chelmsford High teammate, Dennis King, a former Lion standout who is now the head wrestling coach at Central Catholic. "He's a little older than me and he was definitely someone I looked up to.
"He was a very successful wrestler, and he was a good role model as far as his work ethic. He was a multiple time state champion. He was the leader of the team. It's really sad. George Bossi is an icon in the sport of high school wrestling. I feel very bad for him and entire Bossi family."
The Chelmsford vs. Lowell wrestling rivalry is one of the fiercest in the area. With George Bossi coaching at Lowell and Michael Bossi wrestling at Chelmsford, it just added to the intensity of this always great matchup.
Bossi wrestled at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in college. While at UMass he won the New England 150-pound championship in 1986. Bossi also was a former member of the Coast Guard.
"It's tragic," said Rich. "The worse thing in the world for any parent is to lose a son or daughter. My condolences go out to George and his family. The Chelmsford High wrestling community suffered a great loss as well."
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