Coach Richard Lee passed away Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 11:15 p.m.
March is usually the time when we see the magical moments of victory or the heartbreaking realities of defeat in the world of basketball.
But at every level, the game is about much more than just a ball and a net.
The girls basketball team at Halls Middle School is a perfect example.
Longtime coach Richard Lee feels most alive on the sidelines.
“I just can't sit still, and I just love it,” Lee said.
But just as the basketball season was tipping off in October, and he had a team full of middle school girls looking for his leadership, coach was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks, but then I wanted to know if I could still coach,” Lee said.
The doctor said yes, and despite lingering weakness and nausea, Coach Lee only missed one practice.
“I promised them I'd be there so I wanted to fulfill that promise,” Lee said.
Players were learning first hand what it looks like to handle adversity.
“He's going through something so hard that don't ever give up don't stop doing what you love,” guard Keira Everett said.
After the final home game of the season, the coach who prides himself on preparation, had no idea what was coming next, a monetary gift from students, teachers, administrators and parents to help with his upcoming surgery.
“I was shocked when I opened it up I was beyond amazed at the beginning that the school did it was beyond anything I could ever have dreamed or hoped for and way more than it should have ever done,” Lee said.
Coach is feeling good and says he will continue to fight this disease.