CATAWISSA -- Students and school officials at Southern Columbia Area School District are mourning the loss of the district's girls basketball coach. Kevin Collins, 45, died Tuesday from what the Northumberland County coroner believes was a massive heart attack.
Trophies and plaques fill a case at Southern Columbia Area High School near Catawissa. The awards come from both the boys and girls basketball teams. Some of them were teams that Kevin Collins helped coach.
"In eighth grade he coached us at the Danville barn and we had him for open gyms and stuff. He was a real good guy. He always had a smile on his face," sophomore David Brokus said.
Sadly, Kevin Collins will not coach any more basketball games. He died Tuesday at his home near Shamokin from what the coroner believes was a massive heart attack.
Collins was head coach of the girls basketball team at Southern Columbia Area High School. Under his leadership, the team made it to the PIAA state playoffs. Last year, he was assistant coach for the boys basketball team.
"He was a real good coach. He got into the games. He got us pumped up. I don't know what else to say, he was a great guy all around," Brokus said.
"Really worked well with all the kids. A leader, and I think the life skills lessons that he taught, as well as being an excellent coach was very important and valuable for us," guidance counselor Tom Donlan said.
Officials at Southern Columbia Area High School met with the girls basketball team and their families after they found out Coach Collins passed away. Counseling services are available at the school district.
"He would come to other sporting events, football, softball. If there were kids there participating he would come and be supportive of them all the time," Donlan said.
Southern Columbia Superintendent Paul Caputo said in a statement, "Coach Collins was...the epitome of what every high school and/or youth coach should be -- a teacher and mentor first, always keeping the best interests of his players at the forefront."
Kevin Collins, 45, leaves behind a wife and five children.