Family Mourns North Texas Football Coach

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011  |  Updated 6:11 PM CDT
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Football players at Prestonwood Christian Academy returned to practice today after the sudden death of of their coach, Wade McLain, on Monday.

Lindsay Wilcox,

Football players at Prestonwood Christian Academy returned to practice today after the sudden death of of their coach, Wade McLain, on Monday.

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Family Talks About Coach's Final Moments on Field

The children of a high school football coach who died after the season's first practice say he loved his family, football and his faith.

Heat Factors in Coach's Death

A preliminary autopsy report says heat exposure combined with a heart condition to killed a North Texas football coach.
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The children of a North Texas football coach who died on the first day of practice are remembering him as a loving father and coach.

Preliminary autopsy reports indicate that heat combined with a heart condition killed 55-year-old Wade McLain, a father of five.

"He had a big heart, and maybe that played a part," said his oldest daughter, Stephanie Garcia.

McLain, a defensive coordinator at Prestonwood Christian Academy, collapsed during a break in the team's second practice of the day on Monday as temperatures soared well above the century mark.

"We always joked Dad would teach and coach until the day he died," said son David McLain. "But we thought it would be 20, 30 years from now."

McLain's youngest son, Christian, is a cornerback on Prestonwood Christian's varsity football team.

"It's crazy to think I was right there with him," the 19-year-old senior said.

Talking about his last practice under his father's direction brought a smile to his face.

"He was loving on all of us, encouraging us," Christian McLain said. "Even though he was getting after me a little, he would tell me how good I was doing."

There is no question, his father loved the game of football.

"He sang to us growing up, and what he'd sing were fight songs, college fight songs," daughter Lindsey Groves said.

The only things he loved more than football were his faith and his family, she said.

"We never questioned how he felt about us," she said. "It was, 'Have I told you that I love you?' And I was like, 'Yes, Dad, you told me five minutes ago,'" Groves said.

The family now clings to a professional photograph they took over the weekend. It was the first time the family had gathered with all the children, grandchildren and father they loved so dearly.

"We miss him; that's obvious," Christian McLain said. "But he's doing the one thing he would love the most right now -- sitting at the feet of Jesus."

Prestonwood Christian canceled Tuesday's football practices. Practice is expected to resume Wednesday.

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