Longtime Soddy-Daisy High School softball coach Lamar Lasley died of an apparent heart attack Monday afternoon, just a few hours before the 2012 state champion Lady Trojans' season ended in a Class AAA sectional game at Smyrna High School.
Smyrna won 4-1.
First-year head coach Wes Skiles said Lasley's wife, Dana, told him to take the team on to Smyrna and play the game, but they agreed to delay telling the players until afterward.
As reported by Tom Kreager covering the game for The Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, both teams gathered for prayer around the pitcher's circle after Skiles gave the Lady Trojans the news about Lasley. They had attributed his absence to Lasley saying earlier in the day that he was having a hard battle with a cold.
"I've been working with Lamar for seven years, at [Loftis] Middle School and the high school," Skiles said after arriving back home after midnight. "He helped me at the middle school for about four years. This still seems unreal. The girls are tweeting back and forth saying they can't believe it.
"He put his heart and soul into the program, and I learned a lot from him -- a whole lot of things. I was the new guy taking over this year and I changed a few things in the program, and he said, 'I'm with you.' He gave me his full support.
"Lamar was awesome with kids -- middle school, high school, and he always worked with teams in the summer. I'm really going to miss him. A lot of people are."
Lasley predated Skiles in assisting Clifford Kirk through Soddy-Daisy's run of dominance in the state. Kirk retired after last season's title and then took over at Sale Creek, and he collapsed from a heart situation of his own during the Lady Panthers' regional final last week and was hospitalized.