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Georgia Baptist university coach dies from COVID-19 complications

ROME, Ga. (BP) – Shorter University coach Ryan Dupree, 24, died Sept. 4 from COVID-related pneumonia shortly after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dawn Tolbert, associate vice president for advancement and public relations at Shorter, confirmed with Baptist Press that Dupree had joined the staff this fall as an assistant coach on the men’s basketball team.

“The Shorter University family was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Coach Ryan Dupree on Saturday,” read a statement by the school, which is affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Our prayers are with them and the basketball team in this time of loss.”

Dupree was a standout basketball player at Bob Jones High School Madison, Ala., who went on to play at Snead State Community College in Boaz, Ala. He later attended Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss., and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University, according to The Madison County Record.

“Ryan lost his fight against COVID after only showing symptoms for one day,” a family friend, Pam Hailey, wrote on Facebook. “He was 24. Strong. Healthy. Played sports his entire life. He played through college. He had just taken a job reaching his lifelong dream of being a college coach. Now he’s gone.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the Dupree family with funeral expenses. Dupree’s relationship with Christ was noted in its description.

“We can not [sic] wrap our earthly minds around this, but rejoicing that we have hope even in darkness. Ryan is in heaven, and we will see him again,” it said.