When Parkdale High School third-year girls’ soccer coach Bret Loes attended a Feb. 5 professional developmental meeting with his colleagues before taking some time off to deal with some health issues, it never crossed their mind that it would be the last time they’d see him.
Loes, who was named the 2013 All-Gazette Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to their first-ever region final appearance, died suddenly Feb. 13.
“It came pretty much as a surprise,” Parkdale Athletic Director Brian Moore said. “He mentioned when we came back from Christmas break that he was dealing with a brief illness and was going to take a little time off to get himself well. But I fully expected him to make it back.”
Hundreds of colleagues, students and players, present and past, attended Friday’s viewing and a memorial service Saturday, a testament to how well-liked and respected Loes was by everyone who knew him. The girls’ soccer team, which Moore said was hugely affected, made a banner to hang in his honor.”
“Mainly Bret was a liked guy who endeared himself to everyone because of his work ethic as a person, he’s the kind of guy that you wanted to help him out with anything,” Moore said. “He was a hands-on type of coach, he really didn’t ask a lot of people to do a lot for him. He was the one buying the nets for the girls, making sure to get uniforms for the girls. He made them feel at home with everything he did.”
Loes was an Army veteran and Moore said that background was obvious in his Panthers pride, his organizational skills and regimented way he ran his program as well as the camaraderie he facilitated and encouraged among his players.
Loes had a 2-year-old daughter and contributions to her future educational needs can be donated through checks made payable to the Bret Loes Memorial Educational Fund at PNC Bank.
“Grief counselors have been available to students, he was a social studies teacher as well so it was a shock to his regular students, too,” Moore said. “I had a great opportunity to work with [Loes] in the fall and it didn’t come as a surprise to me at all that he was Gazette Coach of the Year. He was the consummate coach.”