2017-07-27 / Sports

In Lake Leelanau, basketball players mourn loss of coach


JACK KING, who passed away on Friday, instantly became part of the team at St. Mary when he joined the boys varsity basketball program as an assistant coach in 2016. King is pictured left. JACK KING, who passed away on Friday, instantly became part of the team at St. Mary when he joined the boys varsity basketball program as an assistant coach in 2016. King is pictured left. He was only at St. Mary for one season, and that was long enough to make an impact.

Jack King, who spent the 2016-17 basketball season on the bench as an assistant boys basketball coach, passed away unexpectedly on Friday.

The cause of death was not made known to the Enterprise.

“I met with Jack last summer,” St. Mary head coach Clint Couturier said. “He wanted to help out; they were new to the parish. He was a tremendous help and a great guy. He was very fiery, had a lot of passion for the game and wanted to see the kids do well.

“They knew he was in their corner, there was no doubt about it.”

King moved up to Leelanau County after years of serving as an assistant coach at Northwood University.

Couturier said King played at Anderson High School in Indiana, home of the famous “Anderson Wigwam.”

King did all he could to help the St. Mary program, Couturier said, whether that was teaching the little things during games last season or providing transportation to team camp in Gaylord this summer.

“I’m gonna’ miss him,” Couturier said, “and I’m sure the boys are gonna miss him.”

St. Mary Athletic Director Teresa Szur said the program was fortunate to have King on the bench.

“I know he was very valuable to Clint,” Szur said. “Even as an assistant, he demanded that guys step up and play the game correctly. He kind of had an old-school style about him as a coach, but there was a lot of caring behind that demanding glare that he could have. ... We’re sad we only got to know him for just a year. I’ve heard from a couple families that the guys really liked him and are really going to miss him.”

Szur said visitation will be Aug. 13 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes Alt & Shawmut Chapel in Grand Rapids. Mass will follow Aug. 14 at 11 a.m. at Parish of the Holy Spirit in Grand Rapids.

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