Jim Cogan III, of Telford, Pa. lost control of his car in the 700 block of East Reliance Street in Hilltown. The vehicle caught fire and landed in a stream.
Principal Kevin Munnelly had the difficult task of informing the track and field team of the sad news.
"His loss will be tough to get over. I believe he was very, very decent human being who our kids just gravitated to," Principal Munnelly said.At Central Bucks West in Doylestown, colleagues said there were two things Cogan loved: His family, and being a track and field coach.
That explains the special bond that Coach Cogan formed with the young athletes on his team.
"It hurts to know that I talked to him yesterday. Just yesterday I shook his hand and talked about this season," said team member Joe Shumock.
Cogan was a star track and field player himself at rival Central Bucks East in the mid 90's. He began coaching at West several years ago and students say he left a lasting impact"He was more than a coach, he was a mentor. He was someone I looked up to and, I know, the rest of the team looked up to," said senior Earyn Edwards.
Fellow coaches and faculty members say the impact of this loss goes way beyond the track.
"It is personal because, I believe, he was a very decent human being who our kids just gravitated to," said CB West principal Kevin Munnelly.
"Jimmy is just the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. In a bad situation he'd find a way to crack a joke, make you smile. Of course, we here in the CB West community will miss his presence here," said boys track and field coach Greg Wetzel.
Cogan specialized in throwing events, and his protege was the only high schooler in all of Pennyslvania to qualify in all three throwing events at the state meet.
Cogan leaves behind a wife and a five-year-old daughter.