RLHS mourns loss of coach

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

When people talked about Coach Bobby Dye of Red Level being a big man, it was not about his physical appearance, but his heart.

"Coach Dye was loved by everyone," said Johnny Taylor, principal at Red Level High School. "He was well thought of, respected and loved by all.

He will be greatly missed."

Dye, the assistant football coach and head girls softball coach at RLHS, died Thursday in a Texas hospital where he was undergoing treatment for cancer which had only been recently detected. He was 60 years old.

"His wife called us last night (Thursday)," said Taylor.

The Red Level students were told Friday morning. They had known of the coach's cancer - a sign near the High School said "Good Luck Coach Dye" - but the news still hit them hard. Taylor called in pastors, school counselors and psychologists to help the students cope with the loss of their coach and teacher.

"We're going to meet the needs of his family, the students, the faculty and staff," said Taylor.

Part of meeting those needs means tending to each student as an individual. Red Level High School did not close early Friday, but students were allowed to go home early if they chose.

"We want to be here for them, our doors open," said Taylor. "But if they feel the need to go home, we encourage that, too."

Will Williamson, a counselor based in Opp who works with both Red Level and Andalusia City Schools, agrees.

"Different people have different ways of expressing grief," said Williamson, who was called in to help counsel the students. "Parents need to honor the individual's needs."

Visitation will begin at 6 p.m., Sunday at Foreman Funeral Home and services have been planned for 10 a.m. Monday.

"School will not start until the afternoon," said Taylor. "The buses will start to run at 11:30 and lunch will not be served, but an afternoon snack will be provided for those who need it."

Taylor said staff and faculty should be at the school by noon. All of the grades, pre-K through 12, were included and school will still dismiss at 3 p.m.

Dye, who also taught P.E., Drivers ed., and history, was a member of the Mott Church of Christ. He had been a member of the Red Level community for more than 17 years. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Dye, a son and daughter-in-law, Bobby and Sara Dye of Andalusia; a daughter and son-in-law, Elisa and Randy Edson of Red Level; four grandchildren, Emily and Ethan Edson, Sara Grace Dye, and Trae Bowen; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Dye of Leesburg, La; and three brothers, Roddy (Nell) Dye of Opelousas, La., Pat (Liz) Dye of Galveston, Texas; and Timmy Dye of Leesville, La.

Flowers or memorials to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, will be accepted.