Posted on August 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM
Friday, Aug 5 at 1:15 PM
PLANO, Texas - He was respected and loved. So the goodbyes today for Coach Wade McLain were hard and sad.
McLain collapsed just as practice was ending at Prestonwood Christian Academy Monday. The medical examiner ruled his death a combination of heat exposure and heart disease.
Today, more than one thousand people gathered to reflect on the man who was committed to children.
McLain’s former and current players and fellow coaches sang the same song he often led after every football game, win or lose. But today, they sang "Hard Fighting Soldiers" as a tribute to McLain.
The coach's son, Rodney McLain, read his father's own words, from a book he was writing. It told of a near death experience the elder McLain had 20 years ago in a North Texas hospital.
"I was aware that I had gone from the hospital," read the oldest McLain child. "I knew that I had left my family behind. That didn't matter. I was in the presence of the one person I strive to be like every day, the person who actually died a cruel death on the cross because he loved me."
Music was performed by PCA alumni and Mike Graham, the coaches nephew.
Former PCA players described the 55-year-old coach as a good and godly man who mentored his players on football, faith and life.
“When I first got to know coach as one of his players, I saw him as this mythic figure arising out of the West Texas dust," said Kevin Georgas, who played under McLain. "He was a demigod, a warrior, a hero.”
A family friend told mourners McLain suffered from Fibromyalgia and other health problems.
“He never let it be known that he was in constant pain," said Kevin Mosely.
Another former PCA player described coach McLain as a tactical genius like Napoleon, but said McLain would have never lost to the Russians.