Kansas high school basketball coach dies in crash

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KINSLEY, Kan. (KAKE) -

A Kansas school district says its basketball coach was killed in a crash in his hometown Thursday night, the day before his team's homecoming game. 

The accident happened just after 9 p.m. in the 800 block of Colony Street in Kinsley. The Kansas Highway Patrol reports a car driven by 71-year-old Michael Jones left the roadway and went through three private yards. The car then crossed a public sidewalk before striking a wooden fence and a large tree. 

Jones was pronounced dead a short time after the crash. It was unclear why his vehicle left the roadway.

Jones was the high school boys basketball coach. What should have been a Homecoming celebration Friday night turned into a game with a different meaning.

"Disbelief. I laid awake all night long thinking about how the kids are going to handle this, how the team was gonna handle this," said Junior-Senior High Principal Bill King

USD 347 Superintendent Becky Burcher says in the three years Jones coached basketball, he made an impact on his players.

"Coach Jones was a very caring individual," Burcher said. "He believed in kids."

The team held a moment of silence before taking to the court, showing respect for the man who instilled qualities of perseverance and hard work in them.

Off the court, King says the boys are leaning on each other through the difficult time.

The crash comes one week after the Haven High School assistant basketball coach David Chamberlain Jr., was killed in a crash in McPherson County.

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