Steve King, Photo by Lynn Trautmann/ LT Photo Evanston

Steve King, assistant football coach at Evanston Township High School died on June 27. A statement from ETHS said, “The Evanston Township High School family is saddened by the passing of our beloved coach and friend. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, his McGaw YMCA colleagues, and ETHS students and staff. The Evanston community has lost a wonderful coach and mentor, a dear friend, and a dedicated Wildkit. … He made a significant difference in the lives of many youth and families in the Evanston community as the assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator at ETHS, and as the sports and family manager for the McGaw YMCA.”

Coach King was hired as an assistant football coach at ETHS in 2005 and was promoted to assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator in 2008. Prior to coaching at ETHS he was a two-year starting defensive back for the University of Michigan. ETHS Athletic Director Chris Livatino said Mr. King “helped transform the football program through his ‘Wolf Pack’ mentality on defense and the passion he brought to the players and coaching staff.”

At gathering of more than 100 ETHS football student athletes and parents on June 28, many current and former players spoke about the importance Coach King played in their lives beyond the gridiron.

“Whether it was helping them get into college, pushing them in school, raising that bar of excellence or just being there to talk to about their lives and their problems, Coach King was an absolute godsend to so many,” said Mr. Livatino. “He worked his players hard and he loved them even harder.”

 ETHS Head Football Coach Mike “Buzz” Burzawa expressed that Coach King’s leadership and love for the team was visible beyond “the x/o’s of football.”

“He made a difference in the lives of our kids. We shared the same vision – to build a family, team, environment where players and coaches cared about each other,” said Coach Burzawa. “Nobody cared more about helping ETHS football players than Steve did. He was a role model to every one of our players and coaches.”

Mr. Burzawa said he will maintain Mr. King’s vision and values in the ETHS football program, and plans to dedicate the 2014 football season to Coach King “to make sure his legacy is always remembered in Evanston.”

Viewing is set for 4-9 p.m. on July 3, and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. on July 4 at A.A. Raynor & Sons, 318 East 71st St., Chicago. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on July 5 at First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St. Donations to the Steve King Memorial Fund may be brought to the service or sent to First Bank & Trust, 820 Church St. Evanston, IL 60201.