After decades of helping youth by coaching and mentoring, first year assistant softball coach Charles Fobbs died Wednesday afternoon.
Fobbs, 47, was involved in a single-car rollover accident on I-96. Police report the accident occurred at about 6:30 p.m.
Before becoming an assistant in 2013, Fobbs spent a year as a volunteer assistant coach at MSU in 2009. He was entering his first year as a part of head coach Jacquie Joseph’s staff.
“I’m absolutely devastated by the loss of my very good friend and a wonderful human being,” Joseph said in a statement. “We have lost someone incredibly special — he dedicated his life to helping develop young people, and this is a tremendous loss. My heart is with his family and all those who had the privilege of knowing him.”
He was well known as a father figure to many young people at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where he coached softball and football for many years.
“He did a lot of great things for Cass and the community, it really is a tragedy,” said Cass Tech athletic director Edward Tomlin, who stood in Fobbs’ wedding.
“(He was a mentor) for young men, and even some young ladies who wouldn’t have gone to college if they didn’t know Mr. Fobbs.”
Fobbs compiled a softball record of 288-43 while at Cass Tech. During his tenure, 50 athletes received college scholarships to play softball. Fobbs also left his mark in Detroit by becoming founder and CEO of the Detroit Cannon Youth Organization, a nonprofit built to create tomorrow’s leaders out of urban youth.
“Charles Fobbs was an extraordinary coach and youth leader,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a press release.
“He organized the Detroit Cannon Youth Organization 19 years ago to work with city kids while he was coaching at Cass Tech, where his winning record was exceeded only by the capacity of his heart. His talent and his spirit of dedication and service were inspirational.”
Prior to coaching at Cass Tech, he attended the University of New Mexico on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in business technology in 1989.
With his illustrious coaching career, Tomlin said Fobbs made himself a prominent figure across the nation.
Athletic Director Mark Hollis expressed his condolences, noting how his passion spread far outside Cass Tech and MSU.
“Our thoughts are with Charles’ family and friends at this incredibly difficult time,” Hollis said in a statement.
“More than a coach, Charles was a good friend to many here in our athletics department and across the state of Michigan.”
The Canton resident is survived by his wife, Lisa, and step-daughter, Hannah Shuler.
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