Â Â John Ciampi, a starting offensive tackle on the Hofstra football team, died Sunday
afternoon at Island Medical Center in Hempstead. The cause of death will not be announced until an autopsy
is performed. Ciampi, a 6-4, 320-pound junior, was 20. Hofstra officials said the autopsy report will
be released later this week.
Â Â Hofstra athletic director Harry Royle said foul play was not involved.
He also noted that Ciampi had not had any major known medical problems. "We are grieving and saddened
at the loss of a fine young man," Royle said. "We are as anxious to get the information on him as anyone
else." A source at Hofstra said Ciampi visited friends in his hometown of Pelham on Saturday night. He
returned to the Hofstra campus by 2 a.m. Sunday, the source said, and later went to a nightspot near
Â Jon Cianciotto, an employee at the nightspot, confirmed that Ciampi arrived with
other football players between 3 and 3:30 a.m. " was there for around an hour," said Cianciotto, who
added that the players arrived from a party at Hofstra USA, an on-campus club. "He seemed fine to me.
I was talking to him and he was normal." After Ciampi exited the nightspot, Cianciotto said he noticed
himwaiting for a ride, presumably back to his dormitory.
Â Â Joe Shin, a senior on last season's team
and current undergraduate assistant coach, was one of Ciampi's closest friends. He said he last saw Ciampi
in the dormitory at about 6 a.m. Sunday. "It was right before he went to bed," Shin said. "He was fine."
A spokes person at the Nassau County police department said students in Ciampi's dormitory noticed that
Ciampi was in a semi-conscious state and having trouble breathing, and called for medical assistance.
Hofstra's public safety unit then called for an ambulance at 10:31 a.m. Ciampi was pronounced dead at
12:30 p.m. Â A spokesperson at Island Medical Center declined to comment. Hofstra had a bye Saturday.
Its game this Saturday at Buffalo is still scheduled.
Â Â Coach Joe Gardi met with his players at
2 p.m. Sunday. School
counselors also were brought in to help the players handle the situation. "Some
guys were in tears and crying, and there was a lot of hugging going on," Gardi said. "There was no lecturing.
All we could do is pray and wish the best for his family. Our hearts go out to them." Gardi said he was
"dumbfounded" when he received the news.
Â Â As players and coaches filed into Margiotta Hall yesterday,
their crestfallen faces spoke of the heavy pall on the program. "Me and John were both like the same
person," Shin said. "We were inseparable; we just clicked. He was an all-around funny guy." Senior linebacker
Jim Emanuel recalled Ciampi's sense of humor. "He had this early-morning class and he would always walk
by my window and yell, 'Yo, Emanuel, wake up.' It hasn't even hit me yet." Ciampi's mother, whose name
was unavailable, passed away about two years ago.
Â Â Hofstra officials said his father's whereabouts
are unknown. Ciampi lived with his paternal grandparents. Funeral arrangements are pending.