SUNBURY, Ohio (WCMH) — The Sunbury community is remembering the life of Don “Red” Edwards, a local legend who was a high school track coach for decades and a historian.
Edwards died last week at 85 years old. He graduated from Big Walnut High School in 1956. Shortly after, he started coaching track, according to the district.
“He got such great joy out of track and field and cross country that he wanted everybody to experience it,” Joe Evener, Big Walnut’s current head coach of the girls track team, said.
Evener ran track for Edwards before going on to coach with him for decades. Edwards coached in the district for more than 64 years. Evener said Edwards was a mentor to him.
“Somebody who loved Sunbury, somebody who loved Big Walnut with all of his heart,” Evener said. “He was the guy I went to and I’ve got to do it on my own now and that breaks my heart, it really does.”
Edwards is known around the state too. He received an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Dedication of Service award for working the state cross country championships for 48 years. He was also a historian. He kept records and memorabilia from all Big Walnut sports. Some things he collected are always on display at the high school. The rest is at a former rental home turned museum the district said he created.
“He was someone that you always wanted around, and you were fortunate that he was around so again just, we lost a legend,” Superintendent Ryan McLane said.
The cross country team is wearing red and gold ribbons for the rest of the season, in honor of Edwards.
“First probably a father figure, now a grandfather figure. So, he’s going to be missed throughout the community and the program,” Evener said.
The district is holding a celebration of life for Edwards on Oct. 21.