Stafford High Head Baseball Coach Michael Mesa passed away unexpectedly Friday night at the age of 26.
He had just completed a game of paintball with his family, when he collapsed. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, and an autopsy to determine his cause of death is currently underway.
Funeral services will be held Friday at noon at the Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road. A viewing will be held there from 8 a.m. to noon.
“Michael Mesa was one of the most respected teachers and coaches on campus, and in the community,” Stafford MSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Bostic said. “We are going to miss the leadership, dedication and positive attitude that he brought to both the High School and Middle School campuses. We will do everything we can to support Michael Mesa’s family at this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mesa family, as well as the hundreds of students, colleagues and community members who were fortunate enough to consider Michael a mentor or friend.”
Stafford MSD will have grief counselors on campus available to students, staff and community members throughout the school week. The district has also secured the services of therapy dogs to assist in the grieving process.
Mesa’s players held a candlelight vigil in his honor at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Stafford High baseball field. The Stafford High Athletic Booster Club opened the concession stands during the vigil to raise funds for the Mesa family.
Stafford MSD will dedicate its upcoming Cinco de Mayo program in Mesa’s honor, and a moment of silence will be observed prior to the presentation on Wednesday morning. Mesa, a 2008 Stafford High graduate, taught Spanish at Stafford middle and high schools.
In 2014, Mesa became one of the youngest head baseball coaches in Texas when he was promoted at age 25 – after just one season as an assistant coach. He also coached the Stafford Middle School football team.
Mesa was born Oct. 4, 1989, and grew up in Stafford where he was a proud Spartan student-athlete. Out of respect for Mesa, the district will close his classroom for the remainder of the school year. The Stafford High baseball program will also retire Mesa’s No. 11 jersey, which he wore as a player and as a coach at SHS.
As a senior, Mesa was named an all-district catcher, and was recognized for his efforts by media outlets as far away as Victoria. His success on the baseball field drew the attention of Huston-Tillotson University, where he went on to play catcher at the college level.
Mesa put SMSD and community first. Earlier last month, he led a group of players to volunteer at the annual Classic Chevrolet Chili Cook-off.
Teaching and coaching at Stafford MSD was more than a job for Mesa. It was a calling to return to the place that he cherished so much.