Coaches react to death of 18-year-old Evangel athlete Deverin King

Coaches mourn the loss of Deverin King
Published: Apr. 1, 2023 at 8:47 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Coaches at Central High School and Evangel University in Springfield remember a teenager killed in a motorcycle crash in Springfield.

The crash involving Deverin King, 18, happened at the corner of Glenstone and Chestnut. King was a student at Evangel University. All that remains from the aftermath of the crash are twisted metal and mournful thoughts from his family and friends.

“Honestly, I fell right to my knees,” said King’s high school coach Shem Johnson. “I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it.”

Johnson is the track and football coach at King’s alma mater, Central High school. They met before he transferred to the high school at Johnson’s gym. Over time they became closer and closer.

“We truly became friends,” said Johnson. “And in the end, I looked at him as a kind of a son because everything we did couldn’t ask for anything better. Out of a student-athlete, out of a young man who just would live life the way you want to do it.”

Johnson says if he had to describe his fallen friend it would be with one word.

“Ambitious,” said Johnson. “I mean, as I said, there was nothing he wasn’t willing to try in life. He wanted to be there for his mom, his sister, his girlfriend, that was, you know, those were the people that he knew truly, truly hold and held tight to his heart.”

A sentiment that his current track coach, Brandon Staley, at Evangel, would wholeheartedly agree with.

“Just an incredibly hard worker,” said Staley. “The kid was always out here ready to work and was always putting in work. And you know, just last week, we went through a workout that was rather tough, and he’s out there, and it’s the last rep, and he’s still out in front doing his thing.”

Staley says one of the most complex parts of the ordeal was breaking the news to the team.

“We just wanted to make sure that they had the time to process and that the room has the right people in the room to process that with, whether it’s administration coaches, counseling services, things like that, that’s that was the important piece that they had the time, and they were in a place to process,” said Staley.

Evangel’s track team, though in mourning, decided to compete in a meet just days after King’s death.

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