STAFFORD, TX - It was a day of remembering an unforgettable coach.
Stafford High School baseball coach Michael Mesa, the boy who had played ball on the schoolyard field and later became head coach on that field, was laid to rest.
Family, students, faculty, and friends, some coming all the way from Chicago, paid their respects to Mesa at the Stafford Centre for his memorial. "Michael was like a son to me," Aurora Mata shared. "Michael was always....him and my son were always together."
One college buddy drove in from Austin to be there. "It's just hard to explain...it's hard to put into words," Jose Garza said. "Everyone's hurting from it, especially his family but, you know, the community."
Stafford Municipal School District announced the entire district would be closed on Friday to allow students and faculty to attend the funeral service for the popular coach.
Mesa was survived by his fiancé and two-year-old son.
"There's no words we can give to comfort them at this time, and just pray for their peace," Rosalyn Mason, parent of one of Mesa's students, expressed.
Mesa died suddenly last week after collapsing following a paintball game with his family.
His sudden death shocked the school district and the community, as they struggled to understand how he could be gone so young at only 26.
"He was a loving person," Mata recalled. "Just so much that he had to give, so much energy and just love and respect."
As those who gathered to honor him said one last goodbye, they realized they'll miss him deeply, but they'll never forget him.