By Melissa Hurtado and John Ferrannini
The proceeds from ticket sales and the concession stand during Friday’s men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader against Sierra College were donated to the family of recently killed American River College student and employee, Marc Zhuchenko.
Friends and family mourned the loss of 22-year-old Zhuchenko, who was shot and killed earlier this month during attempted robbery while working at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Sacramento.
Men’s head basketball coach Mark Giorgi described Zhuchenko as “a humble down to earth kid who was working hard doing all the right things,” and said his death has “a huge impact, because he did a lot for (the athletic department).”
Giorgi, who was supportive of the proposal to donate the night’s proceeds, said it’s part of the “grieving process” and thinks that by “getting to do something for someone that was such a good person, it kind of makes you feel better.”
Zhuchenko was widely known in ARC’s athletics department, as a result of working in the Dusty Baker Student Athlete Resource Center on campus and attending many sporting events.
“Once the Dusty Baker center was open full time, Marc was a steady presence in that facility and did an unbelievable job working with the current athletes here at American River College,” said football coach Jon Osterhout.
“He’s a young man that did a lot for American River Athletics, truly had a deep passion and care and understanding for the student athlete,” Osterhout added.
Some student athletes were stunned when they returned to campus after the break and saw the memorial for Zhuchenko outside the Dusty Baker Center.
“He was a great guy, what happened to him is not something that he deserved,” said ARC student and basketball player, Dondre Butler. He said that without Zhuchenko’s help in the Dusty Baker Center, “a handful of us basketball players wouldn’t have classes.”
Zhuchenko’s mother and brother attended the men’s basketball game and said they were grateful for the ARC community and the all the support they have received during this difficult time.
“Marc loved … all the players,” said his mother, Lana Zhuchenko, “his life was here, it was his second family.”
“I’m honored how much people loved and cared for him, and how much people said everything good about him,” said his brother Dan Zhuchenko.
According to assistant athletic director Raye Maero, during the last faculty meeting they were brainstorming ways to help Zhuchenko’s family when the idea to donate the proceeds from this game was suggested.
“Everyone just loved him, he was the most positive person you would ever know, so everybody was in, there wasn’t one person who said ‘oh we shouldn’t do that,’” said Maero.
She added, “He always smiled and he never said an unkind word, never. I haven’t heard anyone ever say that, and if we all could be like him, I think that would be great.”