Patrick Cuff, a former Framingham State University basketball player, died on Feb. 2, 2018. He was 27.
According to an obituary released by the Ginley-Crowley funeral home, Cuff died “after a hard-fought struggle with addiction. His life and character were not defined by the disease, but rather by his actions and loving spirit.”
Cuff graduated from Medway High School in 2008. In 2015, he graduated from FSU with a degree in business administration. During his time at FSU, Cuff left a deep impression as a both a ferocious player on the basketball court and a kind and generous friend off the court.
Brittany Murphy, an FSU graduate who was in a relationship with Cuff for over three years, referred to him as “a gentle giant.” She recalled a time when a homeless veteran asked Cuff for money on the street. Cuff instead took the veteran to lunch and talked with him for hours.
“He was just an all-around good person,” she said. “His smile just lit up the room. He was so caring and protective and just made everyone around him always feel safe.”
Marketing professor Michael Harrison said Cuff was also an attentive, diligent and hardworking student. Cuff applied this same work ethic to basketball.
Harrison said, “I remember watching him in a game where he was elbowed in the mouth. He didn’t even flinch, but kept playing strong. He had to come out of the game because he was bleeding from the hit. The athletic trainers stopped the bleeding, and he went right back in the game and mixed it up under the boards and just kept playing hard.”
Ben Roache, Cuff’s former teammate, said he and the other players admired Cuff’s tenacity. “He was so aggressive and tough on the court. Off the court, it was the opposite.”
He added, “If something was going wrong, like on the team, he knew what was right and he tried to figure out what was going wrong to try and turn things around.”
Peter Mugar, FSU head basketball coach during Cuff’s senior year, said Cuff’s fighting spirit earned the respect of all his teammates. “We talk about being a team of givers, not a team of takers and, you know, Pat was a giver.”
Mugar recalled an early season game where the team was tied with just a second and a half left on the clock. “I immediately thought about trying to get the ball into Pat’s hands because, you know, you trust winners in those situations, and that’s the kind of player I thought Pat was. And he had a game-winning shot at the buzzer that I won’t forget.”
Harrison added, “He was a kind man with a big heart. … His loss is a tragedy and there are a lot of people who are going to miss him.”
In the obituary, the family asked for donations to be made to The Herren Project in lieu of flowers. The Herren Project is an organization created by former Celtics player Chris Herren to educate people on the dangers of substance abuse and to help those suffering from addiction find treatment.
Cuff is survived by his parents, Jim and Michelle Cuff, his brother, Calvin and his sisters, Alexa, Emily and Anita.
The family could not be reached for comment.