The words are a form of therapy.
The jokes provide relief from the pain of a huge loss.
The stories are shared connections for a man universally loved.
Greg Mount died with family by his side Sunday morning after a prolonged battle with cancer, but the legacy he left will help carry those closest to him.
Mount, who was an assistant football coach at Fort Collins High School, was the type of person who made you feel like a lifelong friend two minutes after meeting him.
A loving father, Mount and his wife, Bethan have four children: Cody (16), Kaylee (12), Savannah (6) and Scarlett (4).
Everyone has a story about the man they called G-Money.
Nick Baltzell, also a Fort Collins football assistant, recalled how Mount helped him while transitioning from college at CSU to a full-time job.
Baltzell had been unable to find a teaching job, so in came Mount even though they had just met.
“He had probably only known me for two or three months, but he saw that I was struggling finding a teaching job and knew my funds were running a little low,” Baltzell said. “He offered me a part-time job with the cleaning company he had at the time. To have that trust and generosity in his heart to look out for me just encapsulates who he is.”
Brandon Storebo leaned on Mount to help him navigate the recruiting process. When Storebo signed to play football at the University of South Dakota, Mount beamed with pride as if he were one of his own kids.
And that’s just how he was. Even though he was battling a devastatingly harsh cancer, Mount never left the Lambkins, whom he coached for the past six seasons.
After chemotherapy in the morning, he would be at practice in the afternoon. The team became a safe haven, with the players and Mount bringing life and energy to each other, and football serving as a form of therapy.
“He always showed up no matter how lousy he was feeling, and he never showed it,” Fort Collins head coach Eric Rice said. “It was never ‘Woe is me, please feel sorry for me.’ He was the complete opposite of that. He didn’t want anyone to make a big fuss about it.”
Even in his last days, Mount, 47, kept his commitments to the team. In December, he was able to attend the end-of-season banquet.
The lifelong Ohio State fan and one-time offensive lineman was given a standing ovation. Of course he didn’t want it. He would say he was just doing his job.
But he was always more than a coach.
He would do anything to make people smile, big or small. Cayenne Kerbs recalls a small thing that was a huge gesture to her son, Garrett.
“When Coach Mount found out where Garrett was going to college, he went online and spent all this time ordering all this Texas Tech memorabilia,” Kerbs said. “He was just so excited about it. That’s just an example of … how kind he was.”
Always the comedian, Mount had a joke ready for any situation. He would blast Baltzell and assistant Matt Yemm with an early-morning joke via text to start the day on the right note.
In pregame, it was like a standup routine, with Mount holding court. His jokes weren’t always clean, but you couldn’t help but laugh at them.
His happiness was derived from making other people smile, and there’s no length he wouldn’t go to for anyone.
When he received a gift card to a restaurant during his cancer battle, of course he took his offensive linemen out for free meals.
“He was one of those coaches you could get close to, and you felt like you could talk to him about a lot of things outside of sports,” Storebo said. “He was a mentor to a lot of kids. Kids who struggled off the field. He was a figure who would show them the right direction and lead them the right way.”
After his death, Mount’s Facebook page filled with memories and the re-telling of his jokes. Even there, he’s still making people laugh: his Facebook intro that says he won the Nobel Peace Prize and works as an astronaut.
From friends back home in Ohio to those in his longtime home of Fort Collins, people who have never met each other used social media to share stories of G-Money.
He wouldn’t want everyone making a big deal about him, but they just can’t help it.
“He would never take the credit,” Storebo said. “But he’s a one-of-a-kind guy.”
The Fort Collins football team will present an annual award and scholarship in his name.
A celebration of Mount’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturdayat Harmony School. Attendees have been asked to wear their favorite sports attire. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Greg Mount’s name to ramstrength.org.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.