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Luling coach Dean dies

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    Luling coach Dean dies

    By Rick Cantu
    Friday, October 09, 2009

    Luling head football coach Robert Dean Jr. died Thursday after a brief illness.

    Dean, 41, was found at his home by the school's athletic trainer, Luling school district superintendent David Davis said. The coach had missed school recently while battling pneumonia, Davis added. The cause of death had not been determined.

    The varsity football team, now under the guidance of assistant coaches James Howell and Gene Scoggin, will play its District 25-3A game tonight at San Antonio Sam Houston as scheduled. All Luling extracurricular events scheduled for Thursday were canceled.

    Davis said he considered canceling tonight's game but said the "best option" was to play.

    "I feel the students are better served by going ahead and playing," Davis said. "(Dean) would have wanted it that way."

    Dean, also the school's athletic director, was in his second season as Luling's coach. After going 0-10 last year, the Eagles are 1-4 this fall, beating Goliad on Sept. 25 for their lone victory.

    Luling students were told of Dean's death at an afternoon assembly inside the school's gymnasium, where Davis and Luling principal David Oquin informed the student body of 400.

    Davis said Dean, a divorced father of three daughters, was found in his bedroom Thursday morning by athletic trainer Shelley O'Neal, who had gone to check on him.

    Robert Dean Sr. said Thursday night that his son also had pneumonia last year and spent two weeks at an Austin hospital. That setback did not deter him from being a head coach for the first time.

    "Robert was really excited about getting that first win against Goliad," Dean said. "I know he wasn't real happy about the record, but he called to say he'd won his first game. I told him I hope it wouldn't be his last."

    Robert Dean Jr. was a 1986 graduate of Little Cypress-Mauriceville in Orange, where he played football. After serving six years in the Navy, he continued his education and graduated from Lamar University.

    Following his passion for football, he went on to become an assistant at Orangefield and Little Cypress-Mauriceville high schools.

    Dean left Orangefield in 2007 to become an assistant coach at Luling with longtime friend Mike Stewart.

    Stewart, now the head coach at Kountze High School, left Luling in 2008 to become Orangefield's offensive coordinator.

    Dean was hired as Luling's head coach after Stewart departed.

    Dean had two younger siblings ? a brother, James Paul, and a sister, Britton.; 445-3953