EUFAULA, Ala. (WRBL) – The Eufaula community mourns the loss of a coach, father, mentor and friend. Duane Mock lost his battle with cancer last week, but his legacy lives on through every person he touched.
Coach Mock served as Eufaula High School Football’s Defensive Coordinator, coaching at the high school since 2008.
Traces of Coach Mock’s presence can still be felt in his coaching office — a Bible on the desk, a clipboard of workouts and a quote on his whiteboard that says, “In a world of 10s, be an 11.”
“If you opened up Webster and looked up the definition of a man, you would see a picture of Duane Mock,” Rigby said. “Man, father, husband, coach — You could go to any one of those and put a picture of him in there. That’s what he was.”
Eufaula High School Football Head Coach, Ed Rigby, says what people will remember most about Coach Mock is his character.
“That guy is the most genuine human you will ever meet in your life. If anyone is getting to heaven, he’s going to be there.”
At 6 a.m. before each practice, one of the football coaches would have to cut the grass on the football field. Rigby says Coach Mock offered to do it every day.
“The reason he wanted to do it is because he wanted to pray for everyone. ‘Coach, nobody bothers me out there. I can just pray.’ Every day he would do it, just for that… you get up every morning to get up on that big tractor and do that field, just to have your quiet time with the Lord. That was him.”
Those who knew him say his impact on players extended far beyond the gridiron. He served as a mentor and father figure for athletes on the team.
“So many kids don’t have that in their life. They don’t have a role model, that person to look up to. You see him and the way he carries himself… he cared for everybody. If a kid was going through something, he was the go-to guy.”
Mock had an extensive athletic career; he was a jack of all trades as he excelled in multiple sports He played baseball at Patrick Henry Junior College and went on to graduate from Auburn University. He then went on to earn a spot on Team USA’s bobsledding team.
“What’s interesting for Coach Mock is: he’s from Atmore, Alabama,” Rigby, said. “He had seen snow there one time in his life!”
Mock competed at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and went on to compete and medal across the world. He then coached football and baseball at The Lakeside School before coaching at Eufaula High School for 13 years.
When he wasn’t coaching or cheering on his Auburn Tigers, he spent his time fishing the waters of Lake Eufaula. He and Mayor Jack Tibbs spent 1,000 hours on the water together, competing in several fishing tournaments.
“His enthusiasm out there fishing — I mean we’d get fired up out there sometimes,” Tibbs said. “Sometimes we’d cut up or be out there laughing about something. Somebody would come up on us and think that What’s wrong with those guys. We just always had a good time out there.”
Tibbs and Mock fished as a team for 12 years, fishing in tournaments on Lake Eufaula and several other local lakes.
“You’re never more than 12 feet apart in a boat, so we talked about a lot of stuff,” Tibbs said. “He talked about teaching and coaching, his family and his wife. He was just such a good guy, so positive and upbeat and I always enjoyed that about him.”
As Mock’s health problems persisted, he was unable to actively coach with the Eufaula Tigers. It was then that the team developed the motto of “MockStrong.” The Tigers are continuing to keep his memory alive in each practice.
“Our first day of practice, everything we break down is ‘1-2-3 Mock’ and that hasn’t changed… that won’t be changing,” Rigby said.
The funeral service for Mock was held on Sunday at the Eufaula Football Stadium.
“Our whole home stadium from one end to the other was packed,” Rigby said. “It was more than any football game I’ve seen since I’ve been here. It was just an unbelievable pouring out of what this community thought about that man.”
Mock is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his two daughters Georgia and Jada.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Duane Mock Athletic Scholarship Fund. They can be sent to Eufaula High School, 530 Lake Drive, Eufaula, AL 36027
As the community mourns the loss of their beloved coach, they remember him with the quote “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”