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Former coach, athletic director 'gave his entire heart and soul to Springfield'

Mar. 13—A former Springfield coach and athletic director who died this week is being remembered as someone who was always there for his family, friends and the players.

Mark Stoll, 69, died Tuesday morning after recent health issues.

"I always tell people, my brother's bark was worse than his bite. He was a really gentle person if you got to know him, and if you needed him, he would always have your back," said Doug Stoll, Mark's brother.

Doug Stoll said he was "lucky" to get to coach beside his brother for 20 years after his brother's hiring in 1984 and asking him to be his assistant.

"It was he and I together," Doug Stoll said. "I was lucky to get to coach with him, and it was always nice because our mom would come up and sit at the games. He would always go talk to her before the game, and I would kiss her, and that was our pregame thing."

Mark Stoll was "always about the kids" and would do anything for them, his brother said.

"No matter who they were or where they came from, he always did something to help them. A lot of stuff went unseen," Doug Stoll said.

He told a story about how when Mark Stoll was a physical education teacher at Hayward, he would have the kids shoot free throws for him for chocolate chip cookies.

"My brother was always looking for the good in kids," he said.

Roxann Stoll McClain, Mark's sister, said "The role he played in my life and many others was the he had the heart of a lion. He would defend, feed, counsel and love everyone, and he took our whole family on his beautiful journey," she said. "He was our big brother in every way possible."

McClain said she had the privilege of working beside Stoll the last seven years at Northridge school.

"It was even more impressive to be on the inside and witness his passion for the students and staff as it had been for the last 35 years of watching in awe from the outside. He had a way of listening, then nodding and then the knowledge and love would impact you," she said.

Doug Stoll also said some coaches told him they would not be coaches if it wasn't for his brother.

Springfield High School Athletic Director Michael Dellapina said Mark Stoll and his family have been an important part of Springfield athletics for many years and that he will be "greatly missed by all who knew him."

"He built strong relationships with students, staff and families and was always working to shine a positive light on our school and community," he said. "Coach Stoll cared greatly for the people who he worked with on a daily basis and would consistently find ways to build a connection with others. He took great pride in the students and city of Springfield, and his love of his community was always evident."

Tim Elliott, who was the assistant football coach when Mark Stoll was AD at North and hired him as the head girls basketball coach in 2006, said he had a lasting legacy on the community.

"Coach Stoll gave his entire heart and soul to Springfield. He truly was a kind soul who would do anything for anyone. The impact this man had for decades on the students of the Springfield City School District has had such a lasting effect," Elliott told the News-Sun.

Elliott also took to Facebook about losing the "Springfield and Clark County legend."

"Coach Stoll was such a wonderful and amazing person. He would do anything for anyone. So many young people have been positively affected by him over his many decades as an educator and coach," he said. "Mark Stoll was a great man and will be sadly missed by so many in Springfield."

Steve Leep, who was coached by Mark Stoll for four years, said he was only one of so many lives the coach touched for the better.

"I can barely remember any of the wins, losses, stats or scores. I can't remember what we wore, but I know we looked great," Leep said in a Facebook post. "What I remember is who I played with, who I played for and why I loved to play. Twenty years later I look back at these times as some of the best times of my life ... What I'll never forget is what coach meant to me in these pivotal years of my life."

Leep said Mark Stoll challenged him to the best leader he could be on the baseball field, and that he brought out the best in him and those around him.

"We all have our Coach Stoll stories...too many...but the one I wish to share about Coach Stoll is the hug I received from him in my last game playing for him, for North High, for the four horsemen as we came up short. I remember that hug so vividly and it perfectly captures just how much he cared about me. I share about this hug all the time to people that knew Coach Stoll — this is how I remember him back in those days," he said.

Mark Stoll took over the North High School baseball program in 1982 from longtime coach Don Henderson, and served as the head coach for 26 years. Stoll also was an assistant basketball coach to Eddie Ford for 12 seasons.

Before becoming North athletic director in 1995, he taught health and physical education.

Mark Stoll was Springfield's AD when the merger of North and South happened in 2008. He retired from the role at the end of the 2012-13 school year, after being with the district since 1982.

After retiring from Springfield, he served as Xenia High School's athletic director for three years.

The family is in the process of planning funeral services, which will be announced at a later time.