LUFKIN, TX -- Hospital officials confirm Lufkin Head Coach and Athletic Director John Outlaw was pronounced dead Friday morning shortly before 6AM.
During a news conference this afternoon, it was learned Coach Outlaw was discovered by his wife collapsed in the kitchen. He had taken his daily 4:30am jog. When emergency personnel arrived at the couple home, they worked to revive him before transporting him to Memorial Medical Center in Lufkin.
The long time coach arrived by ambulance at the emergency room unresponsive. Doctors tried to revive him, but could not. It is believed Coach Outlaw collapsed at home. A Justice of the Peace pronounced him dead at 5:53AM and ordered an autopsy to help determine cause of death. Early indications point to a possible heart attack.
An eternal optimist, Coach Outlaw loved his job, his family, and his community. Word of the legendary coach's death spread quickly and has left the community in mourning.
"The untimely death of Coach Outlaw today is a significant loss for our community and a tremendous loss for our young people, especially all the athletes that he has mentored. We must come together and grieve his loss by celebrating his amazing legacy, all his coaching accomplishments but even more so the immeasurable positive influence he has had on the youth in our community over the years---all the countless young men and women whose lives have been touched by Coach John Outlaw. He will be missed but not forgotten," said Dr. Debra Burton, Family Counselor.
Outlaw has an ever growing list of athletes that have signed to college scholarships and that was something he took pride in. "We've done a good job of marketing our kids and helping our kids both academically and athletically. It opens up a lot of doors that otherwise wouldn't open."
One of his co-workers recalled how he was always pulling for the underdog. "Those kids who had unstable lives at home. Those kids who needed someone to believe in them. Those kids who hung on to football as a lifeline. Those were the kids Coach Outlaw was most interested in. He loved all of his kids, but those kids who needed him most were the ones he gravitated towards."
The Panther's last state title was in 2001, no one was more anxious to get back to that level than Outlaw, though his philosophy was to take one season at a time, a game at a time.
In a preseason interview Outlaw talked about the 2011 season. Coach Outlaw said he was not worried about the pressure, but how his team would respond. "Pressure is when you don't have enough money to pay your bills at the end of the month. I try to tell everybody I don't know what kind of team we are going to have until I find out how they act when we are behind."
The Pack went on to complete a 9-2-0 season with Coach Outlaw picking up his 300th career win against rival The Woodlands in October.
A Facebook invitation started by one of his former players has been posted inviting former Lufkin athletes and the public to meet at Lufkin High School from 1PM - 5PM for "Football for Outlaw."
The family and LISD have scheduled a news conference for later today at the Community Room at Memorial Medical Center in Lufkin.
John Outlaw was 57 years old.