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Remembering legendary Concord coach Jim Hahn

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The Elkhart County community - and beyond - is mourning the death of Jim Hahn, the legendary Concord High School basketball coach, who died Thursday evening from Covid-19 complications while battling cancer. Hahn was 64. He leaves behind his wife and children.

“It was a shock. My first thought was, really, ‘Way too soon,’ and then I started thinking about his family, his former players, the people in his life that he’s had an impact on,” said Dave Preheim, Athletic Director at Concord High School.

Preheim also was a former student of Jim Hahn, who taught gym class at Concord where he guided the Minutemen to a pair of state runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1990. His 61-home game winning streak is still an Indiana record. Notably, Hahn coached Concord alum Shawn Kemp, a six-time NBA All-Star.

“It’s probably a sign for all of us. Time marches on. You know, when people you know that were your teachers and are older than you when somebody like that passes on is just kind of a pause to think about how fragile life is,” Preheim added.

Jim Falls met Jim Hahn as middle school opponents. The two Jims were assigned to guard each other for a 7th grade basketball game in 1968.

“I’m not sure that we guarded each other the second time around or the third time. I think we talked and became very good friends on the basketball court,” recalled Falls.

It wasn’t long after the middle school games they became lifelong best friends. Granted, there was a period of time they didn’t get to see each other as often due to living in different states - Falls in Tennessee, Hahn in Indiana.

“We had a short spell in his garage probably about five years ago - at what, at which we shed a tear because we said, You know, we got to make up for these 20 years. We got to go camping. We got to go on trips and all this other stuff.’ So he cut me short a little bit on that 20 years, but, but I’ll find a way. We’ll find a way,” Falls said.

Their families were able to go camping last summer and even reunited this past March. Two weeks ago, Falls went to see Hahn in the hospital.

“Obviously, I was not allowed into the room, but at least I got to see him through the window and stuff like that,” Falls stated.

Hahn’s death is also impacting his work family at Welch Packaging Group in Elkhart where he worked in sales for 27 years after retiring from coaching.

“As I walked through the plant today just consoling people and the impact he’s had on people’s lives, it’s just really amazing, as we try to think about what’s our meaning in life. Jim was clearly somebody who led from his heart. He can go be with God today. And that was a big part of his life,” remarked Scott Welch, CEO and Founder of Welch Packaging Group.

Hahn’s impact extended to 16 News Now Saturday Morning weather anchor Gary Sieber, whose full-time job is director of sales at Welch Packaging.

“He’s just going to be sorely missed in the community - and not just by the people here, not just by his customers, but the community as a whole because he did so much that people never saw,” said Sieber.

“The Elkhart County community - and beyond - is mourning the death of Jim Hahn, the legendary Concord High School basketball coach, who died Thursday evening from Covid-19 complications while battling cancer. Hahn was 64. He leaves behind his wife and children.

“It was a shock. My first thought was really, ‘Way too soon,’ and then I started thinking about his family, his former players, the people in his life that he’s had an impact on,” said Dave Preheim, Athletic Director at Concord High School.

Preheim also was a former student of Jim Hahn, who taught gym class at Concord where he guided the Minutemen to a pair of state runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1990. His 61-home game winning streak is still an Indiana record. Notably, Hahn coached Concord alum Shawn Kemp, a six-time NBA All-Star.

“It’s probably a sign for all of us. Time marches on. You know when people you know that were your teachers and are older than you when somebody like that passes on is just kind of a pause to think about how fragile life is,” Preheim added.

Jim Falls met Jim Hahn as a middle school opponents. The two Jims were assigned to guard each other for a 7th grade basketball game in 1968.

“I’m not sure that we guarded each other the second time around or the third time. I think we talked and became very good friends on the basketball court,” recalled Falls.

It wasn’t long after the middle school games they became lifelong best friends. Granted, there was a period of time they didn’t get to see each other as often due to living in different states - Falls in Tennessee, Hahn in Indiana.

“We had a short spell in his garage probably about five years ago - at what at which we shed a tear because we said, you know, we got to make up for these 20 years. We got to go camping. We got to go on trips and all this other stuff. So he cut me short a little bit on that 20 years, but, but I’ll find a way. We’ll find a way,” Falls said.

Their families were able to go camping last summer and even reunited this past March. Two weeks ago, Falls went to see Hahn in the hospital.

“As I walked through the plant today just consoling people and the impact he’s had on people’s lives, it’s just really amazing as we try to think about what’s our meaning in life. Jim was clearly somebody who led from his heart. He can go be with God today. And that was a big part of his life,” remarked Scott Welch, CEO and Founder of Welch Packaging Group.

Hahn’s death is also impacting his work family at Welch Packaging Group in Elkhart where he worked in sales for 27 years after retiring from coaching.

“As I walked through the plant today just consoling people and the impact he’s had on people’s lives. It’s just really amazing as we try to think about what’s our meaning in life. Jim was clearly somebody who led from his heart. He can go be with God today. And that was a big part of his life,” remarked Scott Welch, CEO and Founder of Welch Packaging Group.

Hahn’s impact extended to 16 News Now Saturday Morning weather anchor Gary Sieber, whose full-time job is director of sales at Welch Packaging.

“He’s just going to be sorely missed in the community - and not just by the people here, not just by his customers, but the community as a whole because he did so much that people never saw,” said Sieber.

In Jim’s honor, Welch Packaging will be establishing a charitable memorial fund to support families experiencing hardship in the area at the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. In addition, anyone who wishes to share a tribute or remembrance of Jim can send an e-mail to dietzce@welchpkg.com.

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