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Midwest City Community Mourns Loss Of Beloved Baseball Coach

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Bob Burgess coached more than 30 years at Monroney Middle School, and just retired in May. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the tight-knit Midwest City baseball community, who knew him well. Bob Burgess coached more than 30 years at Monroney Middle School, and just retired in May. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the tight-knit Midwest City baseball community, who knew him well.
MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -

A Midwest City community is mourning the passing of a beloved former baseball coach, who died Thursday.

Bob Burgess coached more than 30 years at Monroney Middle School, and just retired in May. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the tight-knit Midwest City baseball community, who knew him well.

To his countless former players, Burgess was the pinnacle of a baseball coach.

"Heroes get remembered, but legends live forever, and he's a legend," said Conner Howard, who played for Burgess five years ago at Monroney Middle School in Midwest City.

It's the same field that big-time sports names like Mike and Cale Gundy and Matt Kemp once stepped on, with Burgess as their coach.

"We thought he was invincible," Howard said. "He was a man of steel to us. He looked so good for his age. We thought he was going to live forever."

But he didn't. The Medical Examiner has officially ruled Burgess' death as a suicide. His employer of over three decades, Mid-Del Schools, released this statement:

"We are saddened by the loss of Mr. Burgess, a former Mid-Del teacher and coach. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Even some of Burgess' players from the eighties talk of his unparalleled dedication as a Middle School coach.

"He'd be out there in the fall by himself on his hands and knees out in the infield, you know pulling weeds out of the grass and you don't see that from a lot of coaches, especially in middle school, Monroney always had the best field," said Jeremy Woods, a former player and current president of the Midwest City Baseball Association.

"From the very first day until when he retired last year, he gave it the same effort year in and year out."

Burgess left a legacy that Howard says he wants to continue.

"What I want to do in life is I want to be a teacher and a coach, and he inspired me to be a baseball coach," said Howard, who recently graduated from Midwest City High School and currently substitute teaches there.

"I want to do what he did for kids. I want to walk in his footsteps because he taught us to love the game of baseball."

Saturday at 8:30 p.m., friends and family of Coach Burgess plan to honor his life with a candlelight vigil at Monroney Middle School's baseball field.

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