Jacob Sanchez Death – The 35-year-old Jacob Sanchez, who always wanted to teach and coach, was feeling unwell last Thursday, January 5, when engaged in one of his favorite hobbies basketball and working out with some of his kids during his conference period. Around the time the bell rang, he passed out in the Devine Middle School gym. Students quickly discovered him in trouble. Employees immediately began doing continuous CPR on him, and EMS arrived within 15 minutes to take Sanchez to the hospital. Sadly, our neighborhood quickly learned about Coach Sanchez’s passing. One thing is certain, though: the hundreds of students and athletes whose lives he touched will carry on his love, caring attitude, and inspiration.
“He always wanted to be a teacher/coach,” said his wife Becky. “He loved connecting with kids and making sure they knew they always had someone to turn to that believed in them.” Lon Cosby, a dependable friend and fellow coach, continues, “He didn’t care what other people thought. No matter what, he would care for his children. A child would lend a hand if he didn’t have food. A child would find a method to get a team shirt even if he didn’t have the money. He was a devoted friend, coach, and teacher. He would undoubtedly want us to see to it that his boys were fed and entertained before the games, I’m certain of it!
He was very passionate and involved, Cosby said, adding that he would often step up to cover a class or extra duties. According to his wife, he loved seeing students succeed and went above and beyond to make class enjoyable. “He loved spring time because they would get to build and launch rockets. He made sure to attend games for students when he was able and always strived to include all students whenever possible. Countless time, he would have me pick up a pizza to bring to lunch because his kids met a goal he’d set for them,” Becky said.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Sanchez could frequently be found collecting shoes for children in need through the Kicks for Kids program or mowing old people’s lawns. Sanchez loved all of his students at the school, but nothing could equal to the love he had for his wife Becky, his high school sweetheart, and their 7-year-old daughter Karli. At a friend’s house, Jacob met the love of his life while he was just a junior in high school. “We started dating when I was 15,” Becky, his high school sweetheart said. “I recall my initial impression of him. His school-issued workout attire was gold and maroon at the time, and I instantly fell in love with his smile.
“He loved being a dad,” Becky adds, “From the moment she was born, he became a family man. For us, he would do everything. Karli and he both enjoyed singing; he would play Rock Band while she sang into the microphone. He enjoyed reading to her from her favorite book and retrieving softballs from a bucket so they could play T-ball. He also enjoyed accompanying us to the flea market, where he would frequently carry Karli. For seven years, Sanchez worked as a teacher and coach at his alma mater, Devine ISD. He graduated from DHS with the Class of 2006 and spent his formative years in the maroon and gold, therefore there is no place he would rather coach.
The day after the heartbreaking defeat, students came together to commemorate his life and make a promise to carry on his purpose of helping others by “living like Coach Sanchez,” a concept many students have adopted. They released dozens of red heart-shaped balloons over Warhorse Stadium. Additionally, they covered the gym door with post-it notes and heartfelt tributes to Coach Sanchez. At DMS, Sanchez coached football, basketball, and track events in addition to teaching science to sixth- and eighth-graders. Every former student or athlete may recall the positive impact that one particular teacher or coach had on their lives, and Coach Sanchez certainly served as “that one coach who believed in them” for many young people, as he always aspired to do.
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