WILMINGTON — The Clinton-Massie community and many others are mourning the passing of teacher and coach Brian Mudd, who died Wednesday evening.
Mudd had learned in January 2018 he had a large mass on his brain. After brain surgery came radiation, chemo, the discovery of a second tumor, and speeches he gave to thousands of students in the region as he made it a point to keep influencing others, especially those with struggles of their own.
To that end, he also wrote an 84-page book “When Your Goliath Stands Up” containing short, topical pieces. Thousands of copies reportedly have been sold.
Ron Rudduck, a good friend and former Clinton-Massie superintendent, said Thursday Mudd was a great educator and a great coach, and somebody the local community respected and trusted.
In his speeches at schools and elsewhere Mudd talked about his struggles and journey as a blessing, Rudduck recalled. But how can that be? Mudd saw that it was him having to struggle day to day that enabled him to give inspiring, relevant speeches for others who similarly struggled day to day.
He spoke to recovering addicts in the Clinton County drug court, and when he delivered a Southern State Community College commencement address, it and he received a standing ovation.
Mudd made multiple trips to the Duke Cancer Center where there’s an oncologist with a global reputation for the particular cancer Mudd had.
The oncologist had described Brian as her rock star because he was so strong and doing so well, said Rudduck.
Matt Baker, current CM superintendent, said Thursday, “We are mourning the loss of a Falcon Family member who was special to so many people in so many ways! For 24 years Brian Mudd poured thoughts of hope and inspiration into his students, athletes, and colleagues. Brian was always willing to help out a staff member or student in need no matter what it cost in time or effort.”
Baker added, “He was a great public speaker but an even better listener. Brian was the kind of teacher and friend that never told you no because he always wanted to help. His life was cut too short, but his memory and influence will live on through his family and friends. We are lucky to have had him in our lives as long as we did. Please keep his family in your prayers during this difficult time of transition.”
In 2018 Mudd was inducted into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame. As a boys basketball, boys track and field, and boys golf coach at Clinton-Massie, Mudd led his charges to 20 league championships.
The Hall of Fame profile article about the very successful coach noted that regardless of the sport, Mudd is as much about the mental approach for the athletes as he is the physical part.
The profile quoted Mudd, “The mental aspects of those sports always got my attention. You learn how to handle athletes, especially teenage athletes. You can’t handle them [all] the same way.”
Mudd told the News Journal for a story this past July that he felt if he could relay the ups and the downs of going through brain cancer, his writings might just make it a little bit easier for others to handle something similar.
“I know if I could have had something to read that makes me realize some of the things I was experiencing were the norm, it would probably have made it a little bit easier to handle at points,” said Mudd.
The inspirational, motivational and candid book includes a helpful section on mental toughness.
Mudd and his wife Tammy have a daughter Cierra.
A Celebration of Life service will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 (doors open at 2 p.m.) in the Clinton-Massie High School gymnasium. Please use the event entrance. A reception for those who wish to reminisce with their friends will immediately follow the service in the high school auditoria, ending at 5 p.m.
A fundraising event is set for Saturday, Oct. 19 — the StrongAsMudd Golf Outing — at the Elks 797 Golf Course in Wilmington. For more information, call 937-481-1577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .