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Remembering the life and legacy of Mark Feely

Posted at 11:55 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 23:55:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Mark Feely was a presence in Leon County schools for close to four decades, starting as an assistant coach for Godby's junior varsity football team. He would become their head varsity coach before moving over to Leon in 1999. There, he served in different roles; head football coach, head golf coach, and most recently as athletic director, a position he held since 2003.

Feely died on Sunday at the age of 58, but in the Leon County community, his legacy will remain long into the future.

"Our school district lost one of the really good guys," said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna, who had been friends with Feely for decades. "A great coach, a great mentor, and I lost a best friend."

It's his life, and his legacy, that people are remembering today.

"We talk about that all the time. What are you going to leave?" said Leon head volleyball coach Angie Strickland, who was hired by Feely. "If the consistency is the same out of everyone's mouth, then you've done your part."

"He never gave any job he had a half attempt," added Billy Epting, who met Feely in 2005 when he came to Leon as an assistant principal. "Wherever he was and whatever he did, he did it with all he had."

That started in 1985, when coach got his start at Godby.

"He was one of those young coaches where you knew, this guy is going to go far," remembered Mike Hickman, who coached against Feely.

He would later become the Cougars head football coach before coming to Leon in 1999.

"He was definitely a players coach. Not only was he going to coach you, he was going to get out there and show you," said Riley Bell, who played under Feely at Leon. "I could talk to him about anything. He was always there for me, when I was playing and even afterwords."

"Didn't put himself first," added Hickman. "It was always about his family, the job that he had, it was about the kids that he worked with, the coaches that he worked with. He was just class."

Selfless, even through his own battles. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009 and given three years to live.

"For him to fight as long as he has is a huge inspiration to me," said Bell. "He fought harder than anyone I've ever known. He's a winner."

"Mark was probably one of the most stubborn, hard headed individuals I've ever met," laughed Epting. "It was that same intensity and commitment to what he believed in that I'll miss the most."

For over a decade he fought. A kidney transplant. An amputation. Through it all, he was still there for others.

"He was by my side in 2011 when we won the state championship," said Strickland. "The biggest thing that I'm going to miss is that I could always text him -- whether he was at dialysis or at the house."

"He would always put others in front of him," said Hanna. "Until the day he died. Until the day he died."

A day mourned by those that loved him.

"The meaning of life is not merely to exist. It's to live with purpose, and Mark realized that."

A purpose to impact, and that's a life, well lived. Coach Feely's service will be Saturday, July the 9th at 1:00 at City Church in Tallahassee.