For Sarasota (Fla.) High School wrestling families, they can look back and celebrate the impact their coach made on them. Unfortunately, those reflections will be a bit bittersweet after Tracy Lee died shortly after competing in a masters-group wrestling bout at the Sunshine State Games.
As reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Lee, the newly named Sarasota wrestling coach, was competing in a masters bout, with the 51-year-old taking on a college-aged Ukranian national. Shortly after Lee’s match ended, he collapsed. He was rushed to an area hospital, but was pronounced dead of an apparent heart attack shortly thereafter.
In the days since his passing, those who knew him have offered stirring tales of Lee’s passion for wrestling and the Sarasota High community. Per his former coach at Sarasota, Ron Jones, becoming Sarasota’s wrestling coach was the fulfillment of an unstated life’s journey for Lee.
“He wanted it more than anything,” Jones told the Herald-Tribune. “He never stopped being a Sailor. It was sort of a no-brainer having someone who loved Sarasota the way (he) loved Sarasota.
“Whoever knew Trace is definitely going to miss him. … I couldn’t live up to what he thought. We loved each other. We had a friendship like father-son. Our friendship, like with most of my boys, was really close. We never say goodbye until we tell each other, ‘I love you.’”
Jones and others in the community are expected to be at a viewing for Lee on Friday and a memorial service Sunday at Sarasota’s Shore Church.