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Charlottesville, Va. –– Michael Colley, a long-time assistant director in the University of Virginia athletics media relations office, died Saturday (July 11) during a walk while vacationing with friends in Virginia Beach. He was 46.

“Whether it was one of our future professionals or a walk-on, Michael viewed any student-athlete who wore orange and blue as a friend,” said Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage. “Michael’s knowledge and respect of the history of UVa sports was unequaled. Our program has lost a friend, a colleague and our No. 1 fan.”

Colley worked for 18 years at Virginia with his primary responsibilities involving the football and men’s lacrosse teams. His duties with both programs included compiling and distributing information to media, facilitating interviews between media and student-athletes and coaches, coordinating game-day press operations at all home games as well as other sport-related media activities.

He previously worked with the men’s basketball program and directed publicity efforts for the men’s golf, men’s and women‘s soccer, and men’s and women’s tennis programs.

“There was no one more passionate about Virginia athletics,” said Jim Daves, assistant athletics director for media relations. “Michael was a tireless worker who made so many contributions in the department. He was a walking history vault when it came to UVa athletics. He took great pride in serving the media, our coaches, administrators and mostly our student-athletes. His passing is a huge loss for all of us.”

A native of Charlottesville, Colley received his bachelor’s degree from UVa’s McIntire School of Commerce in 1985.

Following graduation, he worked three-and-a-half years as a sales representative for NCR Corporation in Norfolk, Va.

From 1989-90, Colley worked in the UVa athletics media relations office as a volunteer assistant. He then completed a one-year internship with the Atlantic Coast Conference Media Relations Office in Greensboro, N.C., before returning to UVa in 1991 as an assistant sports information director.

He served as the chief statistician at UVa football, men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s home basketball games and at various NCAA Championship events. He also worked on the statistics crew at the NCAA Division I, II and III Men’s Lacrosse Championships and was a primary contributor to the first-ever NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Statistics manual released in 2009.

“Michael loved the University of Virginia and Virginia athletics,” said Rich Murray, associate athletics director for public relations. “I believe he found his calling when he came to work in the athletics media relations office. Michael was a presence in the office and had a positive impact in many areas. In addition to his outstanding professional work, he was a huge fan of Virginia athletics. He will be missed in many ways, but especially as a good friend.”

Colley was a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America and the Virginia chapter (VaSID) of that group as well as the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

He is survived by his parents, Bert and Don, who reside in Charlottesville.

Memorial Service for Michael Colley

A public memorial service will be held for Virginia assistant athletics media relations director Michael Colley on Friday, July 17 at 3 p.m. in John Paul Jones Arena. All are invited to attend, with informal attire suggested. Immediately following the service a reception will take place in the student-athlete dining hall at JPJA.

Parking will be available on the surface lot and in the JPJA garage.
John Paul Jones Arena is located at 295 Massie Road in Charlottesville on the University of Virginia Grounds.

Donations to the Michael Colley Memorial Lacrosse Fund

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions be sent in Michael’s name to benefit the Virginia men’s lacrosse program.

Donations may be sent to the Virginia Athletics Foundation at this address:

Michael Colley Memorial Lacrosse Fund
c/o Virginia Athletics Foundation
PO Box 400833
Charlottesville, VA 22904

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