Coach Welsh was a mentor and friend to many in the community. Friends and family members say he will be greatly missed. (WRDW-TV / July 14, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 14, 2011
THOMSON, Ga. -- Former head coach at Thomson High School, Luther Welsh, spent almost two decades at the school. He spent parts of seven decades coaching overall and retired last season.
On Wednesday, he was airlifted to University Hospital after suffering from a condition called Ventral Tachycardia or V-Tach.
Thursday morning, he passed away at 79 years old.
Coach Welsh's family tells News 12 he had previous cardiac issues and Thursday they were told doctors do believe a V-Tach led a heart attack.
His death comes just a week after the passing of his wife.
Luther Welsh, a man who led Thomson High School to was state championships, was also a man who was a champion to thousands off the field.
Quarterback and senior at Thomson High School, Josh Jones, said he was a great mentor.
"He preached do right off the field and if you do right on the field, it should carry off the field and be a role model for kids looking up to you," Jones said.
Jones played under Welsh for three years. Thursday, he found out about his death alongside his teammates. Current Head Coach Milan Turner told the players Wednesday morning after practice and as their routine, the team prays.
Thursday's prayer was different, though.
"We wanted to let them know about that and just to continue to keep his family -- him and Ms. Anne left behind two daughters and grandchildren -- and we want to make sure we keep them in our prayers," Turner said.
This loss was felt among the coaches, including those who played for him like Assistant Coach Lee Huto.
"I played for him for three years, I coached with him for five years, and he's been in my life for 24 years now. I got to know him when I was 13, and I'm 37 now," Huto said.
Many people describe Coach Welsh as a mentor.
"As the days go forward -- as coach would want -- we want to continue to remember him and what he stood for: hard work, commitment, loyalty, passion and Thomson football," Turner said.
Thomson football is looking ahead with Welsh at heart.
"Coach, I thank you for the memories, we're praying for your family, and we love you and we're going to miss you," Huto said.
Luther Welsh's wife, Anne, passed away from cancer a week ago.
Thursday, the Welsh Family requested privacy and said he will be buried alongside Mrs. Anne Welsh in South Carolina.
One of Luther Welsh's daughters, Andrea, tells News 12 they appreciate all of the support and prayers and that he will be missed.