MODESTO (CBS13) — A high school football coach was honored Friday night, just days after he passed away from a heart attack in the classroom.

Big Valley Christian’s head coach, Larry Shimel, died on Wednesday. He coached the team since the program started at the school nine years ago.

Before Friday’s game, a memorial was held in the form of a pep talk.

“I’m here to tell you there wasn’t another man on the planet like Larry Shimel,” said Pastor Rick Countryman.

His players shared what they would miss the most about Shimel.

“He was a very godly figure in everybody’s life,” said Riley Foster.

“He always wanted to put us first, no matter what,” said David Barton.

He wasn’t just the head coach, but also a teacher. His former students showed up, not only for support, but also for encouragement.

“When he loved somebody, he would show it,” said Carol Zamora. “There was never not enough room for somebody, and it’s just hard.”

His wife, Becci Shimel, says the support is overwhelming. Her memories will stretch beyond a football field, the most important being his love for Christ.

“He He was very kind. He was an amazing husband,” Becci Shimel said. “He loved other people, and he served them and he was interested in being a servant, and very concerned with other people.”

As the memorial wrapped up, the players took the field.

But there was one more special honor—Larry’s son Sean was in charge of the coin toss.

In honor of the coach, the school will give out the Larry Shimel Champion For Christ Award, teaching kids it’s not just about what you do on the field, but how you play the game of life.

Larry’s funeral will be held on Saturday, Oct. 5.


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