For the second time in three years tragedy struck Michigan high school basketball immediately after a key late season game. Almost exactly two years after Wes Leonard hit a district title-winning shot for Fennville (Mi.) High and then died on the court, one of the most successful coaches in Michigan collapsed and died shortly after his team racked up another impressive victory on Saturday.
As reported by the Detroit News and a handful of other Michigan outlets, Detroit (Mi.) Consortium High head basketball coach Al Anderson collapsed and died shortly after Consortium’s 81-44 victory against Dayton (Oh.) Dunbar High.
While it may take a number days before an official cause of death is determined, Anderson’s longtime assistant coach Cap Mitchell told the News that the 40-year-old Anderson had suffered from heart trouble for two years, and had a stent implanted within the past year.
The coach apparently collapsed while a postgame meal was being prepared for the team to celebrate the 16th birthday of one the players on the team.
“Al was in another part of the building and I was told he just dropped,” Mitchell told the News. “He was taken to Henry Ford Hospital and we were told he died around 9 o'clock or so."
Anderson accumulated a career record of 109-28 in six years at Consortium. His 2012-13 squad has been considered one of his finest, with the Cougars rolling to a 13-3 record and emerging as one of the favorites in Michigan’s Class C classification.
While the loss of the near legendary coach may be a shock to Consortium’s system, Mitchell insisted that the team would play on in his memory.
"I don't think we'll stop what we've been doing," Mitchell told the News. "Al was all about the kids and he'd want them to carry on."