Hickman football coach passes away
COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools said Hickman High School football coach Arnel Monroe passed away Sunday morning at about 8:30 a.m. He was 49 years old.
A family friend said Monroe died of a heart attack.
CPS said it is working to notify family, players and staff, as well as contacting counselors to provide support for the students of Hickman High School.
Monroe graduated from Hickman in 1985. He began coaching in 2011.
According to a blog post from Monroe on Friday, his death comes a day after players volunteered at a car wash to raise funds for summer and food expenses for the team.
Mikayla Logan, a family friend of Monroe, said he was an amazing mentor and coach.
"He would bend over backwards for you," Logan said. "He was going to push you to be the best you could be. Any time I thought I really couldn't do something, or wasn't going to make it through something, he told me I was and never really gave me an option to just quit."
Logan also said many people who knew him are devastated.
"He was Hickman," Logan said. "Someone said heaven got a little more purple and it couldn't be more true."
Messages of support and remembrance from around mid-Missouri poured in on social media Sunday morning.
Hickman graduate and current Battle assistant coach Cedric Alvis shared kind words for Monroe on Twitter.
They say everything happens for a reason, and one day I will understand this. Words can't describe what Monroe meant to me. RIP Spank— Cedric Alvis (@CoachAlvis) June 5, 2016
Former Kewpie and current Missouri Western State University defensive backs coach Regi Trotter also took to Twitter.
Friends and family nicknamed Monroe "Spanky."
Many others shared their memories of Monroe, using the hashtag #RIPSpanky.
[This story was updated to provide clarity and add quotes from Monroe's friends.]