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Local coach remembered as a ‘warrior’

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published March 18, 2015

 Coach Rustin (top left) pictured with his family.

Coach Rustin (top left) pictured with his family.

Photo provided

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Seamus Rustin was the type of man to give you a hug and truly mean it.

“He was the person that would give you a hug, but it was a bear hug,” Mario Sacuma, Rustin’s friend, said recently.

Rustin’s friends, who lovingly describe him as “intense” and a “warrior,” recalled the life of the 38-year-old Farmington Hills resident who died of a reported heart attack March 2 after coaching a soccer game.

Rustin, a professional soccer coach with the Waza Football Club organization for nearly 10 years, spent much of his youth and adult life with Sacuma. Rustin became best friends with Sacuma’s younger brother when Rustin was 12 years old.

“They played youth soccer together, went to high school together. Our families were friends, and we rocked out as kids together,” the 40-year-old Waza Football Club co-owner said. “I saw him grow from a boy to a man. He had the same passion for his family and was a great father and husband.”

A memorial service was held March 7 at the Embassy Suites in Livonia. Rustin leaves behind his wife, Regilene, and their children: Silas, 11; Mila, 9; and Lucian, 6.

When Rustin was younger, he worked at a family tile business, then transferred to full-time coaching. He graduated from Madonna University.

Sacuma said Rustin “wasn’t feeling the best” after coaching that Monday, and toward the end of practice, while joking with his team and his son, he became ill and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he died.

“At the hospital, it was pretty emotional,” Sacuma said.

Sacuma said Rustin lived his life “highly motivated” and would do everything 100 percent.

“He had lots of love, passion for life, and he was a seeker of truth and studied different kinds of philosophies,” Sacuma said.

From rocking out to music to studying different viewpoints of life, Rustin was always all in.

“He spent a lot of time with his family, raising his kids, doing what a father does — what he should do,” Sacuma said.

Sacuma added that Rustin brought a “foundation” to his coaching job.

“He was always there,” he said.

Sacuma said Rustin wasn’t a people pleaser.

“He would give it to you straight. He was not a ‘yes’ man,” Rustin said. “Someone that would give you what he sees to be the truth, whether you like it or not. When you have a strong warrior like that, he has an edge. Either you love him or you kept a distance — although he reached out to everybody.”

Regis Bielski, 31, who played for Rustin for two years in the early 2000s, said his coach made a huge impact on his life.

“He was my coach, then we became friends, and then family,” Bielski said. “It was natural. He was a very intense person. (He would) push you hard but always showed you love. The amazing thing about Seamus is that how he is six or seven years older than I am, and at no point did you ever feel an age gap. He always made you feel like you belong.”

Bielski said they talked about everything — family, life, career paths.

“He helped me find an outlet for continuing my passion,” Bielski said. “Because of him, I’m coaching ... teaching kids 3-9 years old the fundamentals. Seamus had this crazy ability to be able to not only teach the game, but instill life lessons and turn young boys into men and get them prepared. The lives he has touched, it is amazing.”

Because of the lives Rustin impacted, Sacuma said he would like to help financially support the family, which inspired him to turn the annual Waza Spring Friendlies into the Seamus Rustin Memorial Cup spring tournament from April 17-19 in Monroe.

“The money raised will be turned into a memorial for him,” Sacuma said, adding that the money will go toward Rustin’s family.

He said the family will need between $500,000 and $600,000 to sustain them until the Rustin children are grown.

“That is just the reality of running a family,” Sacuma said. “That will basically be his income to help the kids. I don’t want the kids to feel the weight of having to deal with life. I want their lives to be as smooth as possible so they could achieve what their destinies are.”

Sacuma added that Rustin’s family is also his.

“This is my family,” Sacuma said. “We’re not blood-related, but (Rustin) is my boy. ... Those are like my children. My son and his oldest boy, they are like best friends. If it would happen to me, I think Seamus would have helped out my family as much as he could.” 

The Seamus Rustin Family Memorial Fund has been created to support Rustin’s family. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/nn3f4o. As of March 11, $86,330 of $150,000 had been raised.

To post photos, stories and memories of Rustin, go to www.facebook.com/seamusrustinme morial.

For more information on the spring tournament, go to wazaf amily.com.

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