When the initial list of victims in the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting was released, the school’s longtime athletic director Chris Hixon was on it. Now we’re learning more about the conditions under which the wrestling coach and leader of the athletic department lost his life.
According to accounts collected by the Miami Herald, Hixon was shot dead by accused gunman Nikolas Cruz while he sped directly at the shooter in a golf cart. The athletic director was apparently attempting to direct students to safety and also trying to disarm Cruz himself.
Here is more detail from the Miami Herald:
“We heard he tried to disarm the shooter,” said Dan Jacob, athletic director and wrestling coach at Coral Springs High and a friend of Hixon’s for 20 years. “He always put others ahead of himself. He was the first to help people out. He just loved teaching and coaching kids and watching them grow up. Many tears have been shed; that’s what he meant to everybody. I’m going to try to be more like Chris.”
“He was trying to move kids out of the way of the shooter and that is 100 percent Chris because he was looking out for them and they adored him for genuinely caring about them,” said Allen Held, wrestling coach at Cypress Bay High who worked with Hixon at South Broward High.
Hixon was the 2017 Broward County athletic director of the year, and was scheduled to coach Stoneman Douglas in the district championships one day after the shooting. Instead, his wrestlers will now have to skip the since postponed event to attend his funeral.
Meanwhile, Jesus Luzardo, a former Stoneman Douglas pitcher currently in the Oakland A’s system, has launched a Chris Hixon Student Athlete Scholarship Fund in honor of the athletic director.