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Bi-City baseball community reacts to death of Carver’s David Pollard

Video: Local baseball coach dies after wreck on Buena Vista Road

Carver High baseball coach David Pollard died Monday after being involved in a three-vehicle wreck that involved a stolen car at the intersection of Buena Vista and Andrews roads, officials said. Pollard, 36, died of blunt-force trauma at 1:52 p.m
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Carver High baseball coach David Pollard died Monday after being involved in a three-vehicle wreck that involved a stolen car at the intersection of Buena Vista and Andrews roads, officials said. Pollard, 36, died of blunt-force trauma at 1:52 p.m

Carver baseball coach David Pollard died from injuries sustained in a wreck involving a stolen car on Monday.

Upon hearing of the death of a member of the Bi-City community, current and former coaches spoke out in large numbers on the type of person Pollard was, his commitment to his athletes, as well as to his family at home.

David Smart

Current LaGrange and former Northside baseball coach

“There’s nothing in the coaching book to prepare you for this.”

On coaching Carver:

“He didn’t just show up. He worked at it. Always thinking about it.

“He was important to us, and he was important to his kids. He was doing everything in his power to turn that program into something that was really, really good.”

On finding out Pollard had died:

“It’s surreal. I was telling the kids that probably this morning around 8 o’clock, he and I were talking. Confirming game time, stuff coaches talk about the day of the game. Just alking to him, and a few hours later, he’s gone. That hardly ever happens. It’s just pretty surreal.”

“I had a lot of respect for David. He took over a situation that probably wasn’t ideal. But he had his guys playing hard, and they got better every time they went out there. I thought a lot of him as a coach, but especially as a person. He’s a real top-shelf guy.”

On what he told his players:

“I’m sure David Pollard didn’t think when he we spoke (this morning) it would be the last few hours on this earth. We don’t think like that. You can’t take any day for granted. And you can’t take the people around you for granted.”

Charles Flowers

Former Shaw baseball and football head coach; coached Pollard, who graduated Shaw in 1998

“I worked with him during the winter, and the day before yesterday he sent me a text message about holding a baseball tournament this summer. He was always thinking about how he could help his athletes.”

“He’s a tremendous guy. So many players have called me, saying that. Lord, have mercy. It’s just a shock. It’s heartbreaking.”

On what he remembers most:

“He was dedicated. He did things the right way. He didn’t buy into the myth that Carver couldn’t win. He wanted to build a program.”

“His work ethic was phenomenal. Even when he wasn’t in the game, he had that coaching mentality. He always wanted to make an impact.”

Anson Hundley

Carver girls basketball coach and a close friend of Pollard

“He was a great family man and a great friend. He’s going to be missed. We’re trying to be strong for his wife and his daughter. At a time like this — you just don’t expect it. That’s it.”

On Pollard as a coach:

“His team may not have been undefeated or the best team in the region, but he went out every day and coached them like they were. He believed in them wholeheartedly. There have been a lot of talks over the phone about his team and where he’s trying to get them. Hopefully these young men can start to walk and emulate a great guy like he was.”

“At the end of the day, they still have to finish the season some kind of way. Hopefully they can start taking that time that he’s put in and use it to get better.”

On Pollard as a friend:

“He was a great coach and a great friend. We’re going to try to keep his legacy rolling.”

Chad Mathis

Columbus High baseball coach

“My feelings go out to the members of his club. This is tough on me, but I can’t imagine what his players are feeling right now. … I know how important a coach can be to his athletes. It’s a game, but there are people who can have a big influence. He’s one of them.”

“If (Carver and LaGrange) had played, I don’t think we would have had practice today. I would have wanted to be there supporting their team. The Columbus High Blue Devils support the Carver Tigers. That’s all I can say.”

Brandon Jenkins

Northside softball coach; played against Pollard at Columbus High from 1995-98

(Via text message): “Prayers go out to Pollard, his family and players. I played against him. He was a hard-nosed, tough player just like all of Flowers’ players were. He worked hard to make Carver a contender.”

Ricky Stone

Northside assistant principal, former Jordan principal; coached Pollard at Shaw and brought him on at Jordan as a community coach

After reading online that Pollard had died:

“My heart just stopped. Just a great kid. Just a great kid. He competed. He worked hard. At Carver, where baseball has not always been strong. He took pride in it, and he wanted to do it the right way and make the kids do the right thing.”

On having Pollard as a community coach at Jordan:

“He came into teaching and coaching late. He had worked elsewhere. I was principal at Jordan at the time, and we were able to get him on with us as a community coach. He wanted to get into coaching to help kids for all the right reasons. That’s the type of person he is. He wanted to help the kids.”

Dee Miller

Northside baseball coach

“I got a text message before we headed to Shaw, and I immediately went back to a conversation we were having before a game this year. We were talking about our kids and his daughter. She was 9, and he was so proud to be a father and a husband. And then we got talking about his (Carver) kids, and they were also part of his family. They were an extension of his home. That’s where my thoughts went. I’m just heartbroken for them.”

On telling his team:

“I told them the information — that he had been hit and killed by a man in a stolen car — because that’s real. They were stunned. I’ve never had them more silent than when I shared that news with them. We prayed together as a team and prayed that he’d fulfilled his purpose on this earth and that God was calling one of his angels home.”

On how it affected him:

“You lose a brother who is in the same business you are, it hits you. It’s more than coaching for wins. It’s coaching for life.”

Chris Gilstrap

Hardaway baseball coach; played at Hardaway while Pollard was playing at Shaw

“David was a great guy. For those kids over there, I would assume he was like a father to a lot of them. He really cared about what he did, regardless of the record and all that.”

On his commitment to his players:

“The last time we played them (after winning by a large margin), he and his team spent more time out in our outfield talking about what could have been done, what should have been done to win. I literally left before they did. He wanted them to compete and do better, and they did.”

On family:

“I didn’t know his family personally. I read where his daughter was 9. My daughter is 8. … I sent my wife a text before the game today. Stuff like this just makes you realize this game is not as important as I make it out to be. Making it home and being there for the family that’s what’s important.”

“I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine what his wife, what his daughter is going through.”

Steve Westmoreland

Harris County baseball coach

“You have to be impressed with the pride he had and the job he had done with his players. He was facing different challenges than a lot of teams, but when those guys showed up every day, he was committed.”

On finding out Pollard had died:

“We were on the bus heading to Hardaway, and it just takes your breath away. You want to hope that it was wrong. … I think that’s one of the things in our program. We’re always talking about taking advantage of opportunities. You never know when something will be taken away.”

On the community’s support for Pollard’s family:

“I think for his family, I hope they understand how big a community there is to support them. There’s a lot of people they don’t know who care about them and (Carver’s) student-athletes. The faculty, the administration, everybody will always be there to help in any way we can. They won’t have to go through it by themselves. There’s a huge network supporting them.”

Pat McGregor

Shaw baseball coach

On what he asked other coaches before playing Carver:

“I asked them to give me an idea what I had coming up. Everyone of them said that you’ve got to beat them. They’re not going to beat themselves. He had them playing. That’s a credit to him.”

On the coaching fraternity in the area:

“We talked to our guys after the game. We just told them that as much as we as coaches are always competitive against each other and want to win, at the end of the day this is a fraternity. You’ll remember these guys for the rest of your life. … It’s a brotherhood. Some of them are hurting right now, and you just keep them in your thoughts and prayers. And make sure your loved ones know how much they mean to you.”

On support from the area for Pollard, Carver:

“We’re in support of them. Whatever they need. I think it’s important for Carver to know that they’re not going through this alone. Anything they need will be taken care of. From Shaw, Columbus, Northside, Harris County, LaGrange, Brookstone, Jordan, whoever. We can’t make it better, but we’ll do as much as we can to help them out.”

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