For over two decades, one constant at Eastern Hancock was Clayton Schultz.
However, that constant, sadly, has come to an end as Schultz passed away Tuesday following a bout with cancer. Schultz battled Burkitt Lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In addition, he was diagnosed with Central Nervous System Lymphoma in his brain.
Aaron Spaulding was one man who knew Schultz extremely well. Not only did Schultz serve as an assistant to Spaulding during boy’s basketball season, he also worked for him as a football and track and field coach as Spaulding also serves as the athletic director at Eastern Hancock High School.
Spaulding told Giant FM that Schultz was a “wonderful man.”
“Clayton was a wonderful man. Passionate, caring, intense, opinionated. Most of all, he was like a big teddy bear,” Spaulding said.
Spaulding said Schultz was “synonymous with Eastern Hancock athletics, having been a three-sport athlete during his student days at Eastern Hancock High School and playing football, basketball and track.
“Then he went on to be a coach of those same three sports for over 20 years. It will be hard to imagine Eastern Hancock sports without him. He was very passionate about all the sports. He would often wear his emotions on his sleeve because he cared so much about it. He was involved in several of our school’s greatest accomplishments in sports. He was there for the boy’s basketball final four run in 2003 on the bench. He was an assistant coach for our state runner-up football team in 2013. He was the head coach for four conference champion boy’s teams, and I could go on and on,” Spaulding said.
To pay tribute to Schultz, Eastern Hancock turned the lights on at its football stadium and will retire his #79 football jersey.
“We will look forward to the day when we can come together to celebrate his life after we are no longer quarantined,” Spaulding said.
Eastern Hancock officials have confirmed that high school and middle school staffers will be available online on Wednesday, April 1, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. for any student who needs support. Students were sent instructions via email on how to access the online counseling rooms.
Senator Mike Crider, an Eastern Hancock graduate, knew Schultz as well. He told Giant FM Schultz was about five years older than his oldest son and was around the home several times.
“My favorite memory is the way he was always smiling and upbeat. He loves sports and never stopped investing in the growth of young athletes. I don’t think I ever remember someone so dedicated to Eastern Hancock athletics,” Crider told Giant FM.
Spaulding told Giant FM he hopes people remember Schultz not just for what he meant to the athletic department, but much more.
“I want people to remember Clayton’s great, big heart. He cared deeply about our kids. He was a great husband, father, coach, person and friend,” Spaulding said.