Ryan Daniel, 30, who also taught special education students, had the heart attack before the arrival of students, the district said.
Daniel was a Buford High graduate who returned to the school nearly five years ago to teach and coach after graduating from Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., where he played football.
“It’s been a day of grieving,” Buford High Athletic Director Dexter Wood told the AJC. “He left a rich, rich legacy of love for this place and love for people.”
Wood said Daniel was a member of the 1999 Wolves team that helped turn the school’s football program around and set the stage for future titles. He also played baseball while in high school.
At the time of his death, Daniel helped coach football, basketball and baseball, the athletic director said. “He was so positive, so caring,” Wood said.
Student athletes remembered Daniel as a favorite.
“It was really sad," student Steven Reese told Channel 2 Action News. "He was personally one of my favorite coaches on the team. His energy was just infectious."
Others remembered Daniel for his wit. "He was the type of coach that would come to you and brighten your day and crack little jokes that make you feel better," student Joshua Thomas said.
Daniel’s father died of a heart attack five years ago, Wood said. The assistant coach is survived by a mother and sister.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan's family and with all who knew and loved him," Buford City schools Superintendent Geye Hamby said in a statement.
SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution