A North Texas community is mourning the loss of a man many simply known as Coach Kyle.
Kyle Tilley, 26, of Flower Mound was killed in a car crash over the weekend in The Colony.
Trooper Lonny Haschel with the Texas Department of Public Safety says Tilley was traveling southbound on the Sam Rayburn Tollway Saturday at about 11:40 p.m. when the wreck occurred just south of the Josey Lane overpass.
According to investigators, another car was traveling in the center lane at a high rate of speed when it crossed into Tilley’s lane, striking the back of his Jeep, and sending it rolling to a stop in the grass median.
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Tilley was pronounced dead on the scene and his passenger, 25-year-old Nicholas Bass of Coppell, was airlifted to the Medical Center of Plano with serious injuries.
Haschel said the other vehicle, driven by 19-year-old Wahid Malik of Carrollton, also came to rest in the median and caught fire, but the driver and passenger were not seriously injured.
Preliminary reports show all involved were wearing their seatbelts, but Haschel said it could take time to figure out what the cause of the crash was.
Haschel said DPS will recreate the scene and work to figure out if charges will be filed, but that could take some time.
Meanwhile, Tilley’s fellow coaches and friends are mourning the tragic loss.
Tilley grew up in the area and graduated from Flower Mound High School before going to college in Arkansas.
Former coaches at the Lewisville Independent School District’s Westside Aquatic Center remembered coaching Tilley since he was eight and seeing him excel in the pool as a swimmer and water polo player.
Longtime friend and fellow coach, Jeff Jones, recalled going to high school with Tilley and encouraging him to come on as a coach at the Lakeside Aquatic Club after he graduated college.
“Man, he was great with the kids,” said Jones.
Jones said Tilley had even taught some of his current students in the upper levels of the club back when he was a high school swimmer himself, proving a staple in the swimming community for most of his 26 years.
“He was always that excitable, young, inspirational coach who got all the kids excited, who just fed off his energy as a coach,” said Jason Walter from the Lakeside Aquatic Club.
On Monday, the coaches cancelled practice and met with grief counselors that the Lewisville ISD helped them get in touch with, to help them better prepare to help their students through the tough time.
“That’s the hardest thing right now is thinking how those kids are going to deal with that,” said Jones.
Jones said Tilley always came in the room with a positive attitude and likely inspired hundreds of kids during his time.
“That’s a hard one, just seeing someone who gave so much to everyone else, just taken away,” he said. “It’s still hard, like, being here on this pool deck and I’m thinking, 'in a couple hours I’m going to see Kyle come in for practice,' and I’ve got to tell myself it’s not going to happen. That’s the absolute hardest thing.”
The coaches also said they planned to meet with Tilley’s parents who also live in Flower Mound to be with them in their time of mourning.