The community of Brownsville, Tennessee, is in mourning. Patrice Boyd, a basketball coach at Hayward High School, passed away on Thursday. The school canceled classes while the students and community members posted tributes to Boyd.
According to WBBJ7, Haywood County athletic director Tim Seymour said that Boyd did not show up for school on Thursday. The administrators did not hear from the coach, so they asked the school resource officer to do go a wellness check. The officers found Boyd dead. Brownsville police said that Boyd appears to have died of natural causes.
The station said that Boyd graduated from Haywood High School in 1996. She returned to her high school in later years, taking on the role of an administrator, teacher and coach. In 2018, Boyd led the Lady Tomcats to the TSSAA state semifinals.
"With great sadness, Mayor Rawls and the City of Brownsville announce the great loss of Ms. Patrice Boyd," the City of Brownsville said in a Facebook post. "She was a beloved community leader, educator, coach, mentor, and so much more. Her energy, heart, and compassion for the children and families of this community were unparalleled. May our community forever reap the seeds of her labor. Please keep the Boyd and Kinnon families in your thoughts and prayers along with the students and staff of Haywood County Schools. Psalm 34:18. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Haywood High School canceled classes on Friday in the wake of the tragic news. Seymour said that the future of girls' basketball was uncertain at the time. However, he said that the athletes would decide on whether they would play. The Lady Tomcats decided on Friday to move ahead with their home game against Millington.
"I think that our class is truly saddened. Class of 2021, specifically, because we’ve just had a lot of time with her,” said senior class treasurer Trey Cunningham, per WBBJ7. "She just embodies this tough love type of mentality and to lose that, we just haven’t appreciated it until now," Cunningham added that he would miss the toughness that the coach instilled.
"As a class officer, we would have a lot of meetings and she would fuss at me a lot, and I think that I’ll truly miss her fussing at me and the other class officers and making sure that we had everything that we need," Cunningham added.