CONCORD, Calif. (KRON) – In the East Bay, a community is stunned after the sudden passing of a beloved high school football coach. Steve Jacoby, De La Salle’s defensive line coach, passed away – just days after celebrating his 61st birthday.
De La Salle’s head coach Justin Alumbaugh left it up to the players to decide if they wanted to take the field Friday night after Jacoby’s tragic death. They decided that they did because they believe that’s what their former coach would have wanted.
“There’s a deep sadness,” said Alumbaugh. “Steve Jacoby was a great man. He was a great coach. He had been here for almost 20 years.”
Alumbaugh remembered his friend and colleague as authentic and caring. Off the field, Jacoby was a mentor for the Spartans’ young men.
“It wasn’t even really football,” said former De La Salle player Cooper Flanagan. “He would check on the kids every week… making sure I was in a good mental state and he just cared about the people.”
The Spartan team honored their former coach with a moment of silence before Friday night’s game.
De La Salle’s VP of athletics Leo Lopez says Jacoby was not only important to the sports department but to the school as a whole.
“Everywhere he went, he made someone better,” said Lopez. “That’s going to be missed. It’s unfortunate the way it happened. It’s unexpected, and we’re all just trying to hang in there together as a community to get through.”
Team parents remember Jacoby mostly for the love he had for his daughters.
“He was a very proud father. We miss Steve,” said De La Salle parent Mara Uriza.
De la Salle won their game against El Cerrito on Friday. Alumbaugh says it was a nice tribute to their former coach.
While it is not official, Jacoby’s death is believed to be connected to a heart-related issue. The school says it is planning to honor him at future events.