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It is extremely painful to share the news that on the evening of January 13th, we lost a member of our Rappahannock and Wakefield community, Tony Huff. Coach Huff was our middle school assistant basketball coach as well as the varsity girls' and boys' basketball coach. He had a beautiful passion for the sport and encompassed what every school would hope for from a coach and student mentor.

After each practice, Coach Huff would email a summary of that night's practice: highlights, ideas, ways he could continue to volunteer his personal time to help grow our teams and his individual players. Coach Huff was committed to the big picture. He knew this unique season was all about planting the seeds for growing a team, teaching the fundamentals, and sparking the joy of the game. 

Coach Huff’s last email to me on January 12th, wrote in part: “Varsity boys are really working hard. Peter M. came in one day feeling down on himself about not making his shots, and just the other day he won a round of knockout .. .Alex and DJ are definitely doing well, especially driving to the hoop ... Peter Mc. is 100% hustle … Jaden is getting much better at point ... Malachi is a great rebounder and literally gives 110% … and Owen is really beginning to improve his shot. The girls are starting to really show improvement… I’m very proud of them … .”

I have countless emails like this. As a Wakefield Country Day alumna, this is what I yearned to find in a basketball coach. A coach that truly saw the individual potential of their players and gave them incentive to do better, be better, on and off the court. 

The following weeks and months will be terribly challenging for all of us, especially our student body. Events such as these bring up questions and uncharted territory for many. We will hold space for our students and children to feel and be heard. We celebrate the brief time we were blessed with Coach Huff and the positive impact he had on our school. We are thankful to have a community that works like a team and shows up for one another. Now, more than ever, we are reminded to lean into our support systems, say I love you often, and ask for help when we need it. 

Our deepest thoughts and prayers go to Tony Huff's family and friends. 

Isabelle Heydt

Athletic Director, Wakefield Country Day School

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