Mishawaka community mourning sudden passing of coach and teacher Gregg Smith

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 4:34 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Shockwaves went through the Mishawaka community after news that longtime educator and coach, Gregg Smith passed away in an accident at his home Monday afternoon.

16 News Now shows us how those at the school corporation are reacting to the unexpected news.

Students, faculty, and even those who just knew Smith in the community are mourning the loss of a man that played a huge role in Mishawaka for the past three decades.

“I think I’d just give him a big hug, tell him I love him, and thank him for being such a good friend for so many years,” said long-time friend and John Young Middle School teacher Cory Betzer.

Smith was an all-around educator, dialing up plays for the Cavemen defense on the football field while molding young minds as the science department chair and with the National Honors Society.

“He was excited about the future. He just finished passing his administrative licensure test and he was excited about that, and we were excited for him as well,” said School City of Mishawaka HR Director Jerome Calderone.

He spent this past year as an administrative intern at John Young Middle School where he worked side-by-side one of his childhood friends who he met as a middle school student in Mishawaka.

“Gregg’s had several opportunities to coach elsewhere as a teacher and his heart is through-and-through a Caveman and he’s been a Caveman football coach and part of this community for 21 years. And even when he had opportunities to coach elsewhere, he just couldn’t see himself leaving this place because this is who he is,” Betzer said.

Caldrone says they’ve brought in some more social workers for their students who are having difficulties processing Smith’s passing.

School City of Mishawaka says they’re making resources available not only for students dealing with the loss of a beloved educator but also for staff who just lost a trusted friend and colleague.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Smith’s family.

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