LEAWOOD, Kan. — As family, friends and teammates continue to mourn the loss of Coach Eric Driskell, they gathered Saturday to say their final goodbyes and honor the life of the coach at Church of Resurrection in Leawood.
Coach Eric Driskell died on Wednesday at 43 years old after suffering a brain aneurysm Sunday afternoon. His organs were donated.
Driskell’s wife, Kari, asked those who attended Saturday’s celebration of life ceremony to wear their Blue Valley High School tiger gear in “true Eric Driskell fashion.”
“Eric had other clothes, but he didn’t wear them,” she said. “And he hated dressing up. He’d always have to make a last-minute run to Kohl’s. So this is perfect.”
During the ceremony she took the stage in front of nearly 3,000 people and shared some of her favorite memories of her husband.
“It’s been an honor to share my husband with all of you,” she said. “A big football coach, but gentle, tender and loving. Our girls had him wrapped around their fingers.”
Kari went on to share stories of her husband that made those in attendance laugh and likely tear up. Click here to read her complete eulogy.
The family's pastor described Driskell as a humble man.
"He never wanted to be a big deal, and he didn't want attention on him," the pastor said.
Driskell's nephew Hank also shared memories of his uncle.
Driskell guided the Blue Valley football program to five state championship game appearances in his seven seasons as the head coach. His Tigers won state titles in 2010 and 2013. His last two teams lost to Derby in the 2015 and 2016 Kansas 6A finals. His varsity record was 71-18.
Prior to being promoted to head coach of his alma mater, Driskell served as an assistant under Steve Rampy from 1996 to 2009. The Tigers won state championships in 1998, 2003 and 2006. Driskell played on the Tigers' first state championship team in 1991. He played a major role in all six state titles in Blue Valley football history.
Driskell's last team finished 12-1. The only blemish was a 17-14 loss to Derby in the 6A state final. He was honored by the Kansas City Chiefs as the 2016 Kansas Coach of the Year.
He was also a board member of the GKCFCA, the boys track and field coach and the weightlifting coach.
Driskell was born in Shawnee, Kan. He attended Stilwell Elementary and Blue Valley Middle School. He graduated from Blue Valley High School in 1992, and played football at Baker University.
Driskell is survived by his wife Kari, and two daughters, Rachel and Laurel.
A Give Forward account has been set up to help the Driskell family.