ELDRED – Slated to begin coaching the Varsity girls basketball team this season, Coach Christopher Gonzalez unfortunately passed away on December 2. The 44-year-old started as a modified coach …
ELDRED – Slated to begin coaching the Varsity girls basketball team this season, Coach Christopher Gonzalez unfortunately passed away on December 2. The 44-year-old started as a modified coach six years ago, working his way up to JV and was set to start Varsity this year.
Gonzalez was a huge part of the Eldred community, volunteering for various sports as well as being on the Eldred Little League Board. He was devoted to his family, as well as his extended family, the children that he coached over the years.
Christopher graduated from Eldred and was a three sport athlete; football, basketball and baseball. He wore number 24 during his time at Eldred.
Athletic Director JJ Gass had high praise for Coach Gonzalez.
“His players loved him and always wanted him as a coach. He was always willing to help out however was needed and he had a great rapport with the other coaches and staff,” Gass said.
“He was the kind of person you wanted to meet and become friends with. We were friends outside of school, we golfed and played cards together. He was truly a great coach, friend and person.”
Among the many with high praise for Gonzalez, Eldred’s Superintendent Dr. John Morgano said, “Chris was an outstanding coach, loved by his players and was dedicated to the success of the Eldred School District.”
Although Gonzalez coached basketball for the Lady Yellowjackets, he also assisted with softball, and his daughter Lily played on travel teams with her teammate Dana Donnelly.
Dana’s father, Michael Donnelly, spent a lot of time with Coach Gonzalez during their travel softball weekends.
“He was a great guy and he had so much love and pride for his daughters and the teams he coached for, it was all he talked about,” Donnelly said. “He always lit up when he talked about the plans he had for the teams and his kids.”
While starting out as a basketball coach, Gonzalez became close with Mike Fore, a parent of one of the modified hoopers when he took over as coach. Fore became an assistant coach and the two worked together as the girls, and coaches, worked their way up the ranks.
“Our friendship grew with each year that we coached together,” Fore said. “Chris was always involved in the players’ lives, academically, athletically and even personally. He even had some of the older players who weren’t on his team asking him for basketball advice. His teams always finished above .500.”
“He was very approachable, always there to help and always gave good advice. He was a great person and coach, and he put a lot into the team and the sport.”
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