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Death Of Young Coach Leaves Team Playing With Heavy Heart

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DETROIT (WWJ) – With heavy hearts, members of the Detroit Consortium High School boys basketball team took the court tonight for their first time since the tragic death of the beloved head coach. Al Anderson died Saturday of an apparent heart attack after his Cougars team played what some describe as their best game of the season; a win over Dayton Dunbar.

Rod Atkins, the principal at Consortium, spoke with WWJ about the well-respected coach.

“We’ve been coping by continuing to do what he’d want us to do. Continuing to be business as usual, that’s why when thoughts came up, ‘Should we cancel games? Should we cancel practices?’ the answer came back emphatically, ‘no’. We want to do what we would do if he were here.”

“We basically said, ‘we’re not going to pretend that nothing happened here’ but we are going to deal with it the way that coach Al would want us to deal with it,” said Atkins. “And that’s by moving on to practice hard, to play hard and to be disciplined to preserve and to build the character of our players.”

Ranked second in the state in Class C, the team has the chance to win the schools’ first state championship this year.

Atkins says the team will honor coach Anderson, who was 40 years old, by leaving his seat on the bench — open, for the rest of the season.

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