Former high school coach dies in Wilson Co. crash - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Former high school coach dies in Wilson Co. crash


Authorities have revealed new details in the death of a popular Middle Tennessee high school coach.

Randy Vanatta died Saturday in a car wreck on Winwood Drive in Lebanon.

As police revealed who likely caused the crash, word of his death - along with well-wishes for an educator many will miss - continued to travel through town Monday.

"Everyone in the community knew Randy," said friend Scott Benson.

Plenty of people knew Vanatta, who taught physical education and health at Lebanon High School, simply as "Coach."

"He was your friend. However, you knew where the boundary was. He was also your coach," said former basketball player Sherry Lester. "He expected nothing but great from you."

According to police, Vanatta pulled out in front of a car that carried two high schoolers.

"Still trying to process it, actually," Lester said.

Vanatta coached the basketball team as well as Lebanon's golf team for more than 20 years.

"Everybody was a friend to Randy," Benson said. "I guess it was just his outgoing personality, his love for people and love for young people and all the years that he spent in education."

His sudden death caught many of his closest friends by surprise, but his life - it seems - also reminded them of how to win at more than high school sports.

"He died on 3/30/13, and I felt like that was the message. John 3:30 states that, 'He must be greater and I must be less.' And I feel like that signifies Coach Vanatta very much, because he gave God his all and he knew that he was less," Lester said.

Vanatta wrote daily devotionals on Facebook that, now, have turned into more of a memorial full of well-wishes.

Police continue to investigate the crash. The chief told The Lebanon Democrat it looks like Vanatta was driving too fast and did not yield at an intersection.

A 12-year-old family friend, who was in the car with Vanatta, was treated and released from Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

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