BEVERLY, Ohio After 34 years at Fort Frye High School as the elementary school gym teacher and coach of numerous sports teams, Sonny Bidwell, 56, died Monday, August 6th.
Superintendent, Stephanie Starcher, confirms the coaches passing. He was the current head varsity baseball coach and a former football coach.
Monday morning, Bidwell went to the Fort Frye weight room, like he did several times a week. When he went out to run on the track, Starcher says he suffered a massive heart attack. The official cause of death has not been released.
"Your first reaction is just a shock, just disbelief that somebody so young would pass so suddenly. The kids and the staff and community members are honestly devastated is an appropriate word to describe it." explains Starcher.
High School Principal, Andy Schob, says they were good friends. "What I remember most about Sonny is how passionate he was about everything. He was a family man. He had a strong family, but he also treated all his kids and everyone he came across as family."
Starcher says, "Sonny is loved. By our community our kids and our staff. And so everybody has been mourning together."
She says at this time the school is giving the family space, and time to mourn. But in the future she says they plan to put something together to honor his legacy.
Bidwell's wife is a teacher at Fort Frye High School. They have a daughter attending Fort Frye high school and other children who are Fort Frye graduates.
"Kids have been sharing stories about what they liked best about Mr. Bidwell and our athletes have been talking about the things he's taught them about the game and off the field as well. It's been interesting to hear those stories shared and just to learn all the wonderful things Sonny's done for the community and for our kids." says Starcher.
Schob explains, "I have a 2nd grade daughter that's going to greatly miss him who had him in gym. I talked to a lot of high school kids and they just you know, don't understand it really completely but they want to do what they can to help the family at this time and show honor and respect for Coach Bidwell and for what he meant to the program and to the community."