There’s something truly special and unique about life within the Elizabethtown Independent Schools district.

It’s ties link generations of families whether you are a student-athlete or someone who flourishes academically. Often, it’s both.

The district has been hit hard the last five months with three of its iconic, Hall of Fame coaching figures passing.

The deaths leave a void in a close-knit community where everyone seems to know everyone. With the passing of an era, it’s important to realize how much students of that era benefitted.

Ron Myers, Vince Hancock and Ray Vencill Jr. were coaching treasures in three sports.

Teams coached by Myers, who died in February, won more than 700 games and two state championships in baseball.

Hancock captured a state title in football and finished with 142 coaching wins. He died in May.

And on June 28, Vencill, who led the Panthers to a state boys’ basketball final and won 170 games in eight seasons, passed away.

Family and friends of three men said they were grounded and led by their faith and love for students.

For a school district like EIS, the past means a lot. These men helped build the foundation the district rests on today, academically and athletically.

George Lynch, himself a former EHS head football coach, said of Han­cock, “Everybody he touched was a better person for it.”

That’s a statement similar to the sentiments shared by literally dozens, if not hundreds, of people who have come in contact with Myers, Hancock and Vencill over the years.

They were influencers of people, on the fields of play, classroom and their communities.

For a small school district, EIS has had and still has, many outstanding administrators, teachers and coaches in their fields.

But for a time, the district had all three legends working side by side. Students of that era and particularly athletes were richly blessed.

The loss of three coaching legends is hard for a tight-knit district like EIS but it can go forward with pride in the positive impact each made.

Coaches so often, and often unfairly, are defined only by the wins and titles they achieve.

Myers, Hancock and Vencill all were successful in wins and titles, for certain.

But for each, their greatest and lasting accomplishments will be the lives they influenced and the lessons they taught those who played for them, were students of them and who knew them.

Their legacies will go on for years and be reflect in the lives of many.

This editorial represent a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

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