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Longtime Elkhart HS track, cross country coach Dana Homo dies

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - The Elkhart High School community is mourning the death of longtime track and cross country Dana Homo. Former athletes tells 16 News Now he passed away on Tuesday after battling health issues for several years. He was 71 years old.

“He just found, you know, what you were good at and helped you, you know, get to that point,” said Barry Hines, Homo’s former student, runner, and most recently fellow coach at Elkhart High School.

Hines saw Homo go beyond the job title as coach.

“I’m a young man who grew up in the inner city of Elkhart and everything. So when I ran cross country, you didn’t see a lot of people that look like me. And Coach always made sure, you know, I had a ride or, you know, that everything was okay with what, you know what, what I was doing,” Hines said. “He was kind of a father figure.”

Dana Homo coached at Elkhart Central High School and later moved to Elkhart Memorial to coach under his son, Adam Homo. At Memorial, Coach Dana helped Brooke Moore push beyond the pain threshold to medal at the IHSAA State Finals. She later became a conference champion and NCAA preliminary round qualifier as a Division 1 runner for Indiana State University.

“He really helped, I guess shaped who I was as an athlete, which ultimately shaped who I am as a person,” said Moore.

Homo’s magnetic passion for the sport inspired Justin Sellers, another former runner and now a coach himself.

“He brought an intensity to practice that was so infectious. We wanted to match it - all the guys that were on our team, you know, we wanted to, we wanted to work hard every single day,” said Sellers, Head Cross Country Coach and Assistant Track Coach at Northside Middle School.

Homo also taught junior high English in Elkhart.

“He is probably one of the most intelligent persons that I have ever met. You never felt that he was condescending to either me, staff, or students,” remarked Dave Walker, who taught alongside Homo and is now the assistant softball coach at Elkhart High School.

Walker noted that Homo was a warrior with his health problems, never complaining and always finding a reason to smile.

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