Monona Grove cancels classes after tennis coach dies
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Monona Grove High School canceled classes and some activities Friday to offer students and staff an opportunity to mourn an art teacher and tennis coach who died after collapsing during a tennis match the night before.
According to a statement from the district, Charles Pyng was coaching a Silver Eagles tennis match when he suffered a medical emergency and did not recover. In addition to teaching art and coaching both boys and girls tennis, Pyng was also an advisor for the school’s Anime Club and Asian Club, Superintendent Dan Olson recounted.
“Mr. Pyng’s impact in our community extended well beyond the high school,” Olson added.
While classes Friday are canceled for high school students, district officials decided to keep the building open, and Olson let students know they were welcome to come for support, counseling, or companionship as they grieve.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for students and staff and our entire community. Take care of yourselves, your children, and each other,” he wrote.
A choir trip was canceled, as of the time of Olson’s letter, however, administrators were still deciding Friday morning what would be done about evening and weekend activities. Once the determinations have been made, they will notify students and their families, the superintendent explained.
Monona Grove Football posted on Facebook that the Tailgate and Youth Night were canceled. Friday night’s football game will still be played and students organized a “Pink Out for Pyng” theme for attendees to honor the teacher.
“The Monona Grove Community lost an unbelievable Teacher, Coach, Colleague, Father, Husband, Community Member and Human,” the post read. “Charlie Pyng always cared about the needs of those around him first and will be truly missed.”
Students who were playing at the match Thursday night say it was scary to watch. Tennis player, Kate Walsh says she will miss his constant encouragement.
“Last night was terrifying for us and it was terrifying for a lot of the students at our school not only the ones on the tennis court at that time,” said Walsh.
Some of his players say they will check on each other and keep his spirit alive.
“He would keep us motivated and uplifted and that is what we are going to do for each other because we have to compensate for the life that we lost,” said Walsh.
Senior Henry Alexander says that Pyng was a role model to his children and students.
“He was a leader not just as a teacher but to many other different groups of people,” said Alexander.
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