One of Decatur’s biggest rivals loses Asst. Football coach to heart attack

The energy is different when Decatur is up against Buford High School. Buford is known for its high standing in the 2A classification, with a .933% win rate in football according to maxpreps.com. Last year they beat Decatur 53-14.

With scores like these, Buford must have great football coaches. However, on Thursday, January 26th, Buford suffered a loss greater than that of any football game. Buford assistant football coach, Ryan Daniel, died at school of a heart attack. The fatal event took place at school in the morning, before the arrival of students, the district said in a public statement.

Daniel was only 30 years old, but heart attacks are hereditary. His father died of a heart attack five years ago. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ryan’s family and with all who knew and loved him,” Buford City schools Superintendent Geye Hamby said in a statement.

Buford students, spefically athletes, are struggling to cope with his death. However, they have a very positive memory of him. “It was really sad,” student Steven Reese told Channel 2 Action News. “He was personally one of my favorite coaches on the team. His energy was just infectious.”

While Buford students are mourning the loss of Daniel, Decatur students are also feeling a sting of sadness. “I think it’s really sad,” said sophomore Kyle Drenner, a softball and soccer player. “I feel like if it happened to our school we’d be hurting just as much.  We need to take advantage of all the good things and good people at our school while we have them.”

Decatur will always have athletic rivals, and empathy will always come with the territory.