“This one’s for Nino.” Chief Sealth International High School football players dedicated last night’s game to Nino Cantu, the longtime grounds manager at their home field, Southwest Athletic Complex. Mr. Cantu died suddenly a week earlier. His friend Doree Fazio-Young led the halftime tribute:
The team kept the ovation going, chanting Nino’s name, and went on to win the game, 42-37, over Roosevelt. Seattle Public Schools paid tribute to Mr. Cantu in this statement:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a beloved staff member, Nino Cantu. Nino passed away on the night of October 11. He had been a valued SPS colleague for 18 years and was the heart and soul of the Southwest Sports Complex. His dedication to student athletes in Seattle and beyond showed every day in the pride he took in his facility as well as the enthusiasm he brought to every event at his complex. Everyone that knew Nino was touched by his energy and enthusiasm for life. His bombastic style and huge grin would greet old friends and new. He was one of a kind and his passion for life never failed to lift the spirits of those around him. You could not speak with Nino and not end up with a smile on your face. His passing has deeply affected our community. We are grateful that his legacy and leadership will live on for many years to come.
Mr. Cantu was just 51 years old.