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Belhaven Mourns the Loss of Coach Willie Heidelberg

October 16, 2013 (Jackson) - Belhaven University and the Department of Athletics are mourning the loss of Assistant Football Coach Willie Heidelberg. Coach Heidelberg, who was in his 15th season at Belhaven as an assistant coach, was found deceased at home this morning of an apparent heart attack.

"It is hard to imagine Belhaven football without Willie,” said Dr. Roger Parrott, President of Belhaven University. “He's been there since the beginning, and has been a voice of significance in the life of every Belhaven football player. I always knew we could lean on Willie because he honored the Lord in everything he did as he cared for our players – he was a winner every single day.”

“I had the privilege of being coached by Coach Heidelberg as well as having him as a close colleague over the past five years,” Belhaven Head Coach Joe Thrasher said. “He is a man who lived out his faith. His passion for football was only second to his love for Christ. He is a man who leaves an incredible legacy behind and who will continue to have an impact on lives long after his time on earth.”

Heidelberg began his career with the Blazers in 1999, coaching the running backs and wide receivers and served as Running Backs Coach this year. Prior to arriving at Belhaven, Coach Heidelberg served 25 years (1973-1998) as a coach and teacher at Murrah High School in Jackson. During his tenure with the Mustangs, Coach Heidelberg coached football, track and basketball, with two years coming as Head Football Coach and 14 years as Head Track Coach.

Coach Heidelberg is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was a letterman running back for the Golden Eagles during the 1970 and 1971 seasons. On October 17th 1970, Heidelberg helped lead Southern Mississippi to a 30-14 upset victory over Archie Manning and the fourth ranked Ole Miss Rebels. Heidelberg also played football at Pearl River Community College (1968-1969). He is a member of the Pearl River CC Sports Hall of Fame.

“Coach Heidelberg was a humble man of few words, but with a life of untold impact,” Belhaven Director of Athletics Scott Little said. “He is an example to us all of how “to serve, not be served.”

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized at this time.

For more breaking news, announcements, and upcoming events, visit the Belhaven University News and Information web site.