Nearly 600 friends, former students, former football players and community members bid farewell to Coach Kent Massie on Monday.
It was an evening of laughter, of sorrow, of memories.
The memorial service was to begin at 6:00, but, “in typical Kent Massie style,” as college roommate Kelly Hamilton said, began late to allow everyone an opportunity to express their sympathies to Massie’s widow, Mary, and to get a hug.
Hamilton began the testimonials saying that Massie was definitely a team player.
“His recent roles were husband and father,” Hamilton said. “And he enjoyed those roles.”
He said that Massie always looked for ways to show love, joy and compassion through sports.
“Arrows were important to him, but meant more than just a t-shirt,” he said. “He looked upon the kids he taught and coached as his kids. Everyone was a special arrow in his quiver that made him a blessed man.”
Hamilton concluded saying, “Kent, you played well. Kent, I will remember you. Kent, you got to the end zone before me.”
Former teacher turned photographer Jim Copes said that he felt special when he was around Massie. “But I found out I wasn’t unique. He treated everyone that way.”
Copes then related the story of his first encounter photographing a Tecumseh game. New to photography, he took 3000 pictures, but only three were any good. He said that Massie appeared to be disappointed, but said “You’ll do better next week.”
“I immediately enrolled in photography school,” said Copes.
He credited Massie for making him the photographer he is today.
“This is a sad day for the Tecumseh community,” Athletic Director Craig Eier told us. “This crowd shows how many lives he touched.”
“He was larger than life to the kids,” Tecumseh High School Ivan Gehret told us. “He could get them to listen without yelling.”
“He taught like a coach and coached like a teacher,” said Gehret. “No matter the kid’s ability, he had a place for them.”
At the end of the service, the coach was led past his former players followed by his widow, Mary, and his sons, Dalton and Louis, both clutching their teddy bears.
The Coach was then taken for a final lap around Spitzer Stadium.
He will be missed.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Kent Massie Arrow Scholarship Fund, c/o TEF, P.O. Box 305, New Carlisle OH 45344.