Bossier High copes with loss of Coach Ricky Brown
Bossier High School Principal David Thrash knew there was something special about Ricky Brown from the very beginning.
The chances of being hired within hours of a job interview are rare, but that’s exactly how Brown became a Bossier Bearkat four years ago. In that time, Brown left a lasting impression on the school, which began the year without their fellow teacher, coach and friend.
Ricky Brown, 36, passed away early Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. Thrash said the news of his passing was difficult to comprehend because he saw him the day before during teacher in-service and appeared to be feeling fine.
The school has since progressed through a state of shock and disbelief to a time of reflection and remembrance.
“We are now remembering all of the things about Ricky Brown that made us smile and laugh,” Thrash said.
As offensive coordinator, Brown helped lead the Bearkats through two successful seasons, winning the District 1-3A titles in 2011 and 2012. The football team was called together Tuesday morning for Thrash to share the news of Brown’s passing.
It was a task that left him at a loss for words.
“It’s hard to find words when you are faced with telling a classroom of students on the first day back that their teacher has passed away,” Thrash said.
Students have been able to express their feelings through words at a memorial table set up in a hallway.
Thrash said reading the letters and notes to Brown’s family has reinforced his own knowledge of how great of an impact he left.
Junior Dallas Vanderpool said Brown was a cool, laid back teacher. She recalled speaking to him often in the hallway between classes last semester.
“My second block was right next to his room so I would see him every day,” she said. “He was one of the sweetest teachers at Bossier. He really did care about his students.”
Upset with the news of his passing, Vanderpool said she talked to her mom and a few other teachers who told her not to runaway from any emotions she may feel. She, like many others at Bossier High, expressed her feelings on a poster board at a memorial table for Brown.
Thrash said he and the school counselors have made themselves available to students and faculty who may be having a difficult time.
“We are relying on each other,” he said. “We’re a community school and a family here. We’re all hurting together.”
Thrash said students also made plans for a memorial service at the school, which will be held today at 1 p.m. in the auditorium. He said it’s something the students want to do to honor the mentor, coach and teacher that left his mark on the Bearkats.
“The kids are the ones organizing it,” Thrash said. “They have come to me with ideas and I’ve told them that we will take the proper time to honor and grieve.”
Looking back, Thrash said the words he gave his teachers Monday hit home hard with Brown’s sudden death.
“Live every day like it’s your last because it just might be,” he said. “This is a very tough time.”
Thrash said there are many stories of Ricky Brown left to be told, ones he expects to only get better and better.
“We’re going to miss him,” Thrash said. “There’s a big void. I don’t even want to begin thinking about trying to replace him. It’s very sad.”
However, the reality is that someone will have to fill the vacant position. Thrash said they will make every effort to transition the students over as easily as possible.
Services for Ricky L. Brown will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at 1 p.m.in the Victory Praise and Worship Center, 479 Taylor Road, Minden. Family hour will be held from 6-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Memorial Funeral Home, 4043 Hwy 79 in Homer.
Repass will be at the Haynesville Community Center, formerly known as the AARP, located next to the high school football practice field.
A memorial fund has been set up Bossier Federal Credit Union under the name The Ricky L. Brown Family Benefit Account. The member number is #115974. Donations will also be accepted at Bossier High School. For more information on donations, contact Christy Roge’ at 549-6684.