‘He made this world better’: Stone County’s Kevin Conard remembered for impact on the community
WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - He was more than just a coach and teacher to his students. Kevin Conard was a mentor who left a lasting impact on the Stone County community. He died unexpectedly earlier this week.
In his short life, Conard was an important part of many people’s lives. One of those was Joel Bowman who was coached by Conard and later hired as an assistant coach.
“When I first met him, I was a young man and sometimes my direction was a little off and he quickly guided me in the right direction. And he continued to do that as I grew up,” Bowman said. “And the cool thing about him is that that’s just a small example of what he’s done.”
“All the people you saw at the game the other night, all the people that you’ll see here today, he’s done the same thing for so many of them, and that’s the legacy he left behind, that he made this place better. He made Stone County better, he made the Gulf Coast better, he made this world better. And men like him are just irreplaceable,” said Bowman.
Former students spoke highly of the man who saw them as more than just another teenager.
“He just really impacted the community and impacted us as students” said Annie Watts a former student and Diamond Girl. “Really just stepping out and going further than just a teacher or a coach and interacting with students on more of a personal level and getting to know us for who we were. He was always loving, fun caring, always loved to reach out.”
Many Stone County athletes came to the church wearing their uniform as a tribute to the school’s athletic director.
“He pushed us to be great and always wanted the best out of us,” said football player Adam Street.
As more and more people continued to gather outside the church, it was easy to see that he will not soon be forgotten.
“When I think about Kevin, I think about conviction. A man who had strong beliefs, and those beliefs became infectious to everybody around him.” Bowman said.
“We’re really going to miss him,” Watts said. “But his legacy lives on.”
Conard is survived by his wife, Crystal, two sons, Gehrig and Kasen and a daughter, Lexi.
Because of his sudden passing, a memorial account has been set up at the Bank of Wiggins to help his family. Donations can be made there under the Conard family name. An additional memorial account has also been setup to help provide scholarships to Stone County athletes. Donations can be made to the Kevin Conard Athletic Memorial Scholarship Fund at Keesler Federal Credit Union.
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