Friends Of Coach Kinne React To Thursday's Shooting - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Friends Of Coach Kinne React To Thursday's Shooting

When you say "Coach" in Canton, there's no question who you're talking about.  Coach Gary Joe Kinne is known as a man who turned around a team that had been counted out. He left Mesquite High School in 2003, and in his first year as Canton's head coach, led the Eagles to their first playoff win in 39 years.

"When it comes down to him just being a person, he's got a heart the size of Texas," said Kinne's friend Steve Plunk, "and this is a very sad day in Canton."

Like Coach Kinne, Canton business owner Steve Plunk has Mesquite roots. It's a link that helped the two develop a friendship working with youth football teams.

"I've never actually seen an aggressive bone in any situation, where he's ever gotten very aggressive except for a football field," Steve said.

It's the football field where former co-worker and Head Coach of Mesquite High School Steve Halpin spent seven years with Coach Kinne.

"I'm just amazed that this can happen and has happened," Coach Halpin said by phone, "I'm saddened and hope that he survives and makes it, and I'm concerned for the family, especially for his son G.J."

G.J is the oldest of 37-year-old Kinne's three children and the starting Eagle's quarterback. Family friend Brenda Termin said the Kinnes' were excited to move to a small town.

"I think he's a wonderful family man," Brenda said. "I think he'd do anything for his family. He has a sweet, sweet family."

"These people are great people," Steve Plunk said. "I feel terrible for what's happened. When I got there at the field house as soon as I found out and I drove there, the first person I saw was Laurie Kinne, his wife. She was on a telephone. I didn't have any words for her. All I could do was hug her."

The same community that roots for him on the sidelines, is now cheering him on toward a quick recovery.

"Coaching the 6th graders, these kids are looking forward to getting to the high school and playing for Coach Kinne," Steve said, "and I hope that, that actually happens."

"We love him," Brenda Termin said, "we are so sorry this happened and we are praying."

Coach Kinne is also a former linebacker and All-Southwest Conference player with Baylor University.

Coach Halpin of Mesquite High school left the Metroplex to be with Kinne's family at the hospital.

At last report, Gary Joe Kinne remained in critical condition.

Maya Golden reporting,

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