Dec 07, 2020 at 07:06 PM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are in mourning today after learning that Tracy Sormanti, the team’s longtime cheerleading director, passed away on Friday, Dec. 4, after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma. Sormanti, just 58 years old, was in her 32nd season of service with the Patriots organization.
“We are grieving the loss of a beloved member of our family today,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Tracy Sormanti was one of my first hires after I bought the team, and after nearly three decades, I can confidently say that there was no one more dedicated to her job or caring and compassionate about those she coached. Like all great coaches, she was meticulous in her preparation and brought the best out of her squads. We have had the good fortune of having some of the greatest coaches in NFL history grace our sidelines, but none did so with such dignity and grace like Tracy. She earned my utmost respect and admiration for the way her teams always performed, not just on the sidelines, but more importantly as Patriots goodwill ambassadors in our New England communities and on the many Patriots USO military tours she coordinated around the world. She truly loved this organization and we loved her. Her presence will be greatly missed, but she will never be forgotten.”
Sormanti, a Rhode Island native, first joined the organization in 1983 as a Patriots cheerleader. She was a member of the Patriots cheerleading squad from 1983-84 and again from 1991-93, concluding her cheerleading career by representing the Patriots at the 1993 Pro Bowl. Shortly after Kraft bought the team in 1994, he named Sormanti the cheerleading director.
Over the past 27 seasons, Sormanti’s squads have performed at 10 Super Bowls, visited more than 30 countries and two dozen foreign operating bases on military tours, and made thousands of community appearances. As the Patriots’ on-field successes multiplied over the years, so too did interest in the Patriots Cheerleaders program. Sormanti developed an intense “bootcamp” audition process – which included everything from dance, to public speaking, to exams on the rules of football and Patriots history – and attracted hundreds of potential cheerleaders annually. She also created the Patriots Junior Cheerleaders program and a partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that raised more than $400,000 for cancer research through the clinics she hosted.
As director, Sormanti shaped the Patriots Cheerleaders program through her own core values: commitment, dedication, accountability, responsibility and a positive attitude. Her tenure was defined by her commitment to the community above all. She developed a program that taught incoming cheerleaders how to be goodwill ambassadors for the organization and placed as much of an emphasis on community service and engagement as on excellence in dance and cheer skills.
Despite facing grueling cancer treatments for the last three years, Sormanti continued to keep a daily presence at Gillette Stadium. She rarely missed a game or a practice and took great pride in seeing her squad perform on game day. However, her greatest joy came from seeing her cheerleaders accomplish their goals off the field, and she was very proud to assemble squads of not only dancers, but doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and public servants.
In 2019, when asked what she hoped her legacy would be, she remarked: “That I’ve made a difference in the lives of the ladies and men who were on this team… and that they’ve learned some valuable life lesson because of a coach that they had in their life.”
Sormanti leaves behind her longtime companion, Dennis M. Brolin, her sister, Terri Ford, brother, Timothy Madden, five nieces and a nephew, and hundreds of former Patriots cheerleaders who grew to love her as much more than a coach. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Thomas & Walter Quinn Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, Sormanti has requested that donations be made in her memory to the MSPCA-Angell Animal Care and Adoption Center.