INDIANAPOLIS -- This report is a part of "America Strong," an ABC News series highlighting stories of strength and resiliency across the nation.
Neighbors, first responders, health care workers, teachers and coaches are the strong, quiet heroes that make up every corner of the country, and one Indiana man's pep talks, booming voice and bear hugs will be greatly missed by his community but long remembered thanks to a new chapter of his legacy.
The student athletes, staff and families of North Central High School lost their beloved coach Paul Loggan, a towering figure in Indianapolis for more than 30 years, to COVID-19.
When his students learned about Loggan's diagnosis, they did what their coach had done so many times for them -- delivered pep talks.
His wife, Kathy Loggan, told ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, "We had the nurses playing that for him over and over," hoping the words of encouragement could help keep him alive.
After 12 days in the hospital, Paul Loggan died at 57 on April 12, 2020.
"I thought it would work. I really did," she said through tears. "There's nothing that he loves more than his student athletes. Besides his own kids."
His son, Michael Loggan, added, "At the end of the day, he knew we loved him and we knew he loved us."
Hours after students first heard the news of Coach Loggan, the school parking lot filled up with their cars to honor his life. In the days that followed, they organized a statewide remembrance at 7 p.m. when the stadium lights would turn on to remember coach Loggan.
The Loggan family set up a foundation in his name to continue his legacy of supporting athletic programs that will provide money for student athletes to pay for sports, uniforms, equipment and more.
"Good Morning America" surprised his wife and son live on Monday with a donation from the Indianapolis Colts for $10,000 to the Paul Loggan Foundation.
"He always wanted to make sure that his student athletes came first and if those kids couldn't afford to play or they were having financial issues or couldn't afford those pair of cleats or those spikes for track -- we would pay for it personally out of our own fund," his wife said. "This foundation just helps us continue his legacy and keeping his name alive for all these future student athletes that won't get to have the honor of actually knowing him and getting his big bear hugs and his big booming voice that always gives you those words of encouragement that he did."
Legacy of high school coach who died of COVID lives on through foundation for student athletes
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