Former Tecumseh High School head football coach Kent Massie, 48, died Tuesday at Springfield Regional Medical Center six days after collapsing at his home.
An autopsy is pending, said Massie’s longtime friend, Shawnee head football coach Rick Meeks.
“I know people are speculating,” Meeks said. “They don’t know why he passed.”
Tecumseh Athletic Director Craig Eier said funeral arrangements are pending for Massie, who is survived by his wife Mary and two young sons, Dalton and Louis.
Massie was a 1987 Shawnee High School and 1992 Capital University graduate. He spent 24 years with the Tecumseh football program. He took over for Bob DeLong as head coach in 2005 and was 72-48 in 11 seasons. Massie stepped down after the 2015 season, citing health reasons. The Arrows made seven playoff appearances in his tenure.
According to Tecumseh’s website, Massie had taught at Tecumseh since 1992. He was an intervention specialist, the special education department chair and taught social studies. He was placed on leave last October but returned to work in December.
“He loved Tecumseh and Tecumseh football,” Eier said. “He loved the kids at Tecumseh. He was always organized and detail oriented. It reflected in our kids. They knew their assignments and played relentlessly. My wife and I were very fortunate to have two sons who played with him. They loved and respected him. He had such a lively personality. When he walked in the room, you kind of knew. Some people have that way about them.”
Meeks was friends with Massie since fourth grade. Massie was one grade above him in the Shawnee school system. They later coached against each other for many years in the Central Buckeye Conference.
“He cared about people,” Meeks said. “He was friendly. He was kind to everybody.”
Wittenberg coach Joe Fincham was another longtime friend of Massie. They lived together for five or six years when they were young coaches. Massie sent many standout players to Wittenberg over the years, including running back Tristan Murray, wide receiver Josh McKee and linebacker Dustin Holmes, an All-American as a senior last year.
“Maybe it’s cliche, but you literally could not find a better friend on the planet,” Fincham said. “If you were ever in a pinch for whatever, he’s a guy you could always call and he would be there for you.”
Tecumseh and Wittenberg graduate Brandon “Boo” Murray wrote about Massie on Facebook: “The word COACH is much like the word LOVE. Used far too often and thrown in as a synonym for far less important words. … Today we lost a man that exemplifies the word in every imaginable way. COACH Kent Massie thank you for your service, your friendship, your sacrifice and for molding generations of young boys and girls into men and women. You will be incredibly missed.”
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