Coach Harris

Stuart Harris pictured after Kenston’s victory over Lake Catholic in September.

The Kenston High School community is in mourning after the unexpected passing of varsity football coach Stuart “Stu” Harris.

Mr. Harris, 62, of Chagrin Falls passed away on Sunday, a mere two days after the No. 3 ranked Bombers’ (11-1) shootout victory over No. 6 Steubenville Big Red (7-6) in the Division III, Region 9 quarterfinals. He was a volunteer for the Bombers for the last three years as a defensive backs coach. He also was a 1977 Kenston alumnus before playing defensive back himself at the University of Michigan until 1980.

Director of Community Relations Katy McGrath said in a statement to the Times on Monday that Mr. Harris “worked tirelessly behind the scenes, from analyzing defensive statistics to driving the equipment truck [for the team].”

“Coach Harris volunteered his time and talents as a friend to the Kenston football program during the last three years because he loved the game of football and the student-athletes at Kenston,” the statement continued, adding the availability of grief counselors throughout the school for students and staff.

Mr. Harris “bled ‘Bomber Blue,’” head football coach Jeff Grubich said on Monday.

Mr. Grubich, who has seen two conference championships, a regional championship and the 2018 Division III State championship in the 10 years he has been at the helm of the program, said Mr. Harris was willing to do anything and everything for the program, kids and coaches regardless of if it had to do with football.

“Whether it was football related, if a coach or player was sick, offering to take food over, money, anything,” Mr. Grubich said.

According to Mr. Grubich, Mr. Harris’ legacy among players was his ability to create long-lasting relationships with the kids in the program.

“[Mr. Harris] was a player’s coach and friend, first and foremost. He cultivated deep relationships with these kids that will impact them for years to come.”

Mr. Harris’ untimely passing is not a cause for extra motivation, said Mr. Grubich. “He would want us to practice and prepare as if it was any other week, and he wouldn’t want it to be a distraction.” The cause of death was not released.

The head coach confirmed that this approach would be the message throughout this week’s practice schedule before the Bombers travel to Twinsburg High School on Friday (Nov. 12) to take on the No. 2 seeded Dover Tornadoes (11-0) in the regional semifinal game.

While the Bombers dedicated the entirety of this season to 2019 alumnus Mitchell Sotera, who passed away in a house fire in June, Mr. Grubich said that the season will also be dedicated to “Coach Stu.”

“He was a great man and a great friend. We’re going to miss him dearly.”

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