COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. - The Collingswood community is grappling with the unexpected and devastating loss of football and basketball coach, Derrick Scott.
Those who knew him say his memory will last forever.
Coaches and players say Coach D dedicated much of his free time to Collingswood youth and his absence is leaving a hole in the hearts of many.
“I cried before I could even got it out, looking my kids in the eyes on Google Zoom and tell them their coach passed away,” stated Head Football Coach, Michael McKeown.
Coach McKeown says he’s known Derrick for years - he coached him as a Collingswood High School student.
“I know he’s looking down hoping that we were out practicing today,” Coach McKeown added.
Derrick graduated in 2007, but hasn’t stopped bleeding blue and gold.
“He’s above and beyond giving back to his community for young kids. His energy was unbelievable. Had a smile no matter what. Could just smile,” Coach McKeown remarked.
Derrick spent his days coaching, pushing and cultivating young athletes, like a trio of Collingswood graduates, now college football players.
“It really hurt last night, seeing the news,” Jaquan Paige said.
The young men describe Coach D as a father figure in their lives.
“He was just always there for me, anytime I needed anything. He taught me how to become one of the greatest running backs in Collingswood, too,” Abdul Bangura noted.
“Always positive, always sees the best in the littlest person to biggest person,” Paige added.
“He never gave up on me. Made sure I was on my p’s and q’s everywhere. I went Little League to high school, always there,” Michael Jenkins remarked.
“He’s coached most of our kids since they were five-years-old. He’s been part of youth program for 10 years now,” Coach McKeown said. “I don’t know if our program can rebound from this.”
Derrick’s cause of death was not immediately known. The Collingswood sports community is committed to carrying on his legacy.
“I’m pretty sure he’s watching over us, all three of us and little kids, too and I’m pretty sure he wants us to become one of the greatest people we can become,” Bangura added.
A memorial is planned for Thursday night at Collingswood football field from 6-8 p.m.
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