(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The city of St. Joseph is mourning the loss of a treasured educator, coach and a pillar of the southside community.
Benton High School's assistant principal Luke McCoy died Friday but friends say his legacy will continue.
"As many people know we lost a dear friend," Jodi Brager said.
Benton High School is heading into the week without its number one fan.
“Every ounce of him loved Benton High School and what it stands for and I think that will live on in each of us,” Benton principal Beery Johnson said.
“His passion for the youth of the southside community is something him and I instantly had a bond on because you know we both feel the same way. We both love Benton High School. We love Benton athletics. We love everything about the southside community,” Benton baseball coach and teacher Johnny Coy said.
“He probably affected more lives in his short time here than a lot of us will do in a full lifetime,” St. Joseph Mustangs General Manager Ky Turner said.
From Luke McCoy’s boss, to teachers, coaches and friends, McCoy's death left a vacuum at the high school where he was the assistant principal for the last 13 years.
“It didn't matter whether it was your tenth time in the office or your first time, you knew that when you left an administrator's office, you know all of them at Benton but especially Luke, you knew that you were loved by one person,” Benton girls basketball coach Chris Michaels said.
McCoy will certainly be missed at games and will certainly be remembered for his passion for benton athletics.
“He was always sitting front row at the basketball games cheering us on,” Coy said. “Really into the games. You could see he would get nervous at the games.”
“If you went to any benton event, Luke was always there,” Turner said. “Just last week traveling down to state and you saw Luke at the top of the student section."
"You know that if you saw luke at any of our sporting events or any of our events at all whether it be the play or a choir performance, he was the guy that was the first one standing up and clapping for his kids,” Michaels said.
He wasn't just the biggest sports fan. Whether his students, teachers or coaches had a big game, play or concert or at the nearest youth center, as a lifelong southsider, he was there.
"I know he's been to just about every single concert that I've ever put on as an educator and he's been there not only to support his boys but also to support the entire program but that wasn't just exclusive to my program I mean you can just do a quick perusal of his page and you're going to see he's highlighting the wrestling team, the basketball team, he just loved, he just supported everyone,” orchestra teacher Savana Ritter said.
“He loves the southside kids, all of them. He loved the athletic ones, the academic ones. He loved the ones that weren't involved in anything and a few trouble makers that we've worked with over the years," Brager said.
Remembering McCoy as one of the most genuine people this group has ever met. They say they’re figuring out how to carry on his legacy.
"Physically he might not be here but the thought of Luke and his impact will live on for a very long time in a lot of different people," Turner said.
"He left Benton a lot better than when he found it for sure," Coy said.
"I’m going to miss that guy and he meant a lot to me. He'll live on at Benton forever," Michaels said.
McCoy leaves behind a wife and three sons.
Final farewells have been set for the beloved high school assistant principal.
A celebration of life service will be held for McCoy Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Grace Evangelical Church.