Coach made a difference
October 05, 2011 - A special token is on the football helmets for sixth-grade players at Everest Academy.
Placed on each helmet is a sticker with the initials "JU" in honor of their coach Jim Urban, who passed away suddenly at the beginning of his fourth year coaching football, Aug. 20.
The news shocked the football players and fellow coaches.
"He's one of the best coaches I've ever had," said Simon Fenske, a sixth grader. "He was able to pinpoint my mistakes and give me the perfect advice to correct it. I've never made the same mistake twice because of his advice."
Before the game against Redford on Sept. 1, Everest's school chaplain Father Daniel Pajerski gathered both teams on the 50-yard line and said a prayer. His fellow coaches also kept his name on the daily practice plan.
Thomas Beauchamp enjoyed the time he spent coaching with Urban.
"He has not only made an enormous positive impact on the boys he has coached over the last four years but his fellow coaches as well," he added.
Urban complemented his fellow coaches as he kept a level head during the games and put perspective on each positive and negative situation.
"We relied heavily on Jim on the sideline," Beauchamp added. "He always knew what to do in every situation. Although he was happy with coaching the offensive and defensive line and calling defensive plays, he could have done so much more. He just enjoyed coaching. He loved working with the boys. He brought a calming affect to our sideline."
Urban also was an assistant coach for the 5/6 basketball team while also coaching the football team. He had an affect not only on the players but parents.
"Jim had a couple of great sayings on the sidelines that always made me smile," said Sam Bellestri, a Everest Academy parent. "When he could see we had the defense well blocked he would excitedly say, 'we've got a play, we've got a play.' If we broke a long run or pass for a score, he would say, 'strike up the band.'"
Dr. Greg Mansour, another Everest Academy parent, said Urban was a quiet leader always with positive and encouraging words.
"Jim obviously had a passion for helping young athletes," he added. "He will truly be missed."
Jim was 50-years-old and graduated from Kalamazoo College and was employed by Dunham's Sports corporate headquarters in Waterford.
The sixth grade team hosts St. Hugo of the Hills this Sunday, 5:30 p.m.. They end the season on Oct. 16 with another home game at 12 p.m. against St. Joseph School.