Blue Valley High football coach Eric Driskell remained in critical condition and in intensive care Monday for a ruptured brain aneurysm.
Driskell, coach of two state-championship teams at Blue Valley, was attending a meeting Sunday afternoon with the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association when he collapsed inside a restaurant.
“To be honest, it’s not good,” his wife, Kari Driskell, posted to her social media pages Monday morning. “He needs a miracle.”
The Blue Valley football team gathered inside the school weight room Monday, a somber meeting that included few words. The players positioned themselves around Driskell’s black chair in the corner of the room.
“No one sat in it,” senior Grant Lahr said. “No one could replace him.”
Senior Zack Willis broke the silence with a brief religious speech, Lahr said.
Later Monday morning, hundreds of Blue Valley students poured onto the football field to take part in a prayer that lasted 25 minutes.
Driskell took over the Blue Valley football program in 2010 after a long tenure as an assistant coach and won the Class 5A championship in his first season. He added another state title in 2013 for his alma mater. He also won a state championship with Blue Valley as a player in 1991.
“He is one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met and one of the greatest guys you could ever ask to play for,” said Northwest Missouri State quarterback Kyle Zimmerman, a member of the 2010 Blue Valley championship team. “Some of the best memories I have of Coach Driskell from high school is how he would always sit down and talk to me a couple of minutes before every game. He would just tell me that I didn’t have to perfect and that no matter what happened, he would always love me. Just stuff like that showed us how much he cared about every player.”
Similar messages spread across social media Monday, many using the hashtag #BVStrong. Kari Driskell’s Facebook post accumulated more than 800 comments. The sentiment spoke of Driskell’s upbeat personality.
Lahr described Driskell as someone “who has a relationship with everyone — the choir, the tennis team, the football team.”
Before every kickoff, Driskell is known to close his pregame speech by saying, “Great weather for football.”
“Last year, we played in a state championship where the field was literally frozen solid,” Lahr said. “And there he is as we walk onto the field — ‘great football weather.’ ”
Driskell and his wife have two children.
Last fall, he was the Kansas City Chiefs’ selection for the Kansas high school coach of the year last fall after leading the Tigers to the Class 6A championship game.