Thursday, Dec 5, 2013
Friends Remember Darren Coffel
WSIL -- 45-year-old Darren Coffel lost his life in a car crash Friday on Elkville Road. It's been a difficult time for many of his friends and family.
Coffel was a well-known baseball umpire and coach in southern Illinois.
"He was a father figure, almost like a second father to some guys," says Dylan Sollers. "I mean, I loved the guy you know. I would do anything for him."
Sollers played catcher for Coffel just two years ago and says he was shocked to hear of the weekend car accident that claimed Coffel's life.
"I don't think I ever quite let him know what he meant to me as a person, with all the opportunities he gave me," he explains. "You forget to tell people that sometimes and you just take it for granted, what they meant to you until they're gone."
Mike Young, another friend says, "We're all three just devastated by the news. We thought the world of Darren."
Young met Coffel five years ago when his son Colin began playing on Coffel's fall baseball league.
"It was all about the kids," says Young. "That pretty much sums Darren up, it was always about the kids."
Young says Coffel taught his son plenty of lessons on the field and off.
"He helped mentor those kids and get them prepared for that next level, and in some cases, helped them to get into schools."
Players like Sollers say they will always remember their former coach.
"That's what I would let him know. How much he meant to me and how much he helped all of us."
Coffel's visitation will take place Tuesday afternoon from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin. A funeral service will also be held at the Searby Funeral home at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
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