Don Horton was just like you.
He played at Division III Wittenberg University in Ohio, and paid his dues hopscotching the country in his climb up the coaching ladder -- with stops ranging from Ohio State to New Mexico State to the Division III and FCS levels. He found his niche as an offensive line coach under Tom O'Brien at Boston College and NC State.
Horton and his wife Maura not only opened their home to players each Thanksgiving and Easter, they sheltered one for three months after he'd been kicked out of his dorm (the player eventually graduated from Boston College.)
He passed away a year ago this week, at just 58 years old. In the time from his passing to now, we now know the culprit was CTE, which mixed with Parkinson's disease to form a heinous cocktail in his brain that robbed Horton of his ability to work, to drive a car, and to function like the father and husband he once was.
The New York Timeshas the story of Horton's battle with brain trauma and his concurrent dilemma as a coach that is a worthwhile read.
I only have a quibble with one quote.
"People read the C.T.E. stories on the N.F.L. level because it’s been so highly publicized, but I don’t think people see it as something the average person gets,” Maura Horton said. “But there are more people who are going to be affected who played in the N.C.A.A. than played in the N.F.L. That’s what I told our girls: It’s going to be average guys like your dad."
I hope you'll forgive me for saying this, Mrs. Horton, but you're wrong. Don Horton was well beyond average.