WYALUSING, Pa. -- A school community in Bradford County is mourning the sudden loss of a former teacher and coach.
Jim Huffman, an assistant coach in the Wyalusing Area School District, was killed in a tractor accident Monday.
Tuesday night, the volleyball team he coached took to the court for a game under the guidance of their other coach, Jim’s wife.
As the Wyalusing Area Girls Volleyball team took to the court to face off against the team from the North Tioga School District, the girls were set to play hard but with a heavy heart.
They and their fans are still reeling from the shocking and sudden loss of their beloved assistant coach Jim Huffman.
Huffman was killed when the tractor he was riding went down an embankment and overturned.
His players, both former and current, remember him as a great man and terrific coach.
“He pushed us to our best, and if we didn't, he would make sure that we knew, and he was there for us, and he was one of the best coaches that I ever had in any of my sports,” said Grace Smith, a member of the freshmen volleyball team.
Along with coaching for the district, the 56 year old spent years as an educator, eventually retiring as a sixth-grade teacher.
“He was an amazing coach, amazing teacher,” said Brianna Shotwell, a Wyalusing graduate and former volleyball player for Huffman. “I actually moved to Wyalusing my sophomore year, and he welcomed me onto the team, and he really made my junior varsity experience amazing.”
People here say they're proud of the team for going ahead with the game, knowing they are playing with Coach Huffman in their hearts.
“He was a good coach. He was very upbeat, positive, always helpful to the girls,” said parent Diane Wood.
Huffman also coached the varsity football team from 2007 to 2012.
Currently, he was coaching the volleyball team with his wife Gayle. She was also present at the match and was seen rallying the team, all who were clearly emotional.
“He was just always inspiring, always pushing you to do your best. He just always wanted you to be the best you,” said Shotwell. “He's the best coach I've ever had.”
A viewing for Jim Huffman is set for this Friday at the Sheldon Funeral Home in Wyalusing from 4 to 7 p.m.
The funeral service is set to follow the next day at 10 a.m.