A longtime Tennessee middle school principal died after collapsing on the field during a baseball game on Saturday.
Gerald Tidwell, principal at Warren County Middle School in McMinnville, collapsed on the field while umpiring a district tournament baseball game at Shelbyville Central High School, multiple statements reported.
The school confirmed Tidwell’s death in a statement on Facebook.
“Our hearts are broken,” the statement said. “Yesterday our Principal, Mr. Gerald Tidwell, passed away after collapsing while umpiring a baseball game. Please remember our students and staff in the days to come. We would also like to extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Tidwell’s wife, Valerie, and his sons, Jordan and Daniel.
We love you Mr. Tidwell. Until we meet again....”
North Sumner Elementary said in a statement that Tidwell suffered a massive heart attack during the game.
“He was a former football player of Mr. Herndon’s while at Westmoreland High School as well as a former student at NSE and Westmoreland schools,” the statement on Facebook said. “Our hearts go out to the Warren County School District and Warren County Middle with the loss of a wonderful administrator, coach and friend.”
People flooded Facebook to express their condolences for Tidwell, with many highlighting his sense of humor.
“He was an amazing guy,” said one co-worker. “So glad I got to work with him. Going to miss seeing him in the hall every morning and all the laughs he made. Going to miss you Mr Tidwell. Thank you for everything you did.”
“Such a great boss even better person loved to scare everyone when they wasn’t paying attention,” said another. “He will be forever missed prayers for his family an everyone that was lucky enough to have known him!”
“I treasure this year I had working with him,” said another co-worker. “He made me laugh and was so approachable. Prayers for his family.”
The executive director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), Bernard Childress, confirmed the passing of Tidwell in a statement to WRVF.
“Unfortunately, this is true,” Childress said in the statement. “The umpire that passed away was Gerald Tidwell. We have not been able to confirm whether he died on the field after collapsing, on the way to the hospital, or at the hospital. This has been devastating and so surreal. These moments remind us how sacred life is and how unimportant the sporting events we oversee are in the big scheme of things. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Tidwell family. We are keeping our focus on God knowing that He will see them through this.”
Grant Swallows, the Warren County Schools director, took to Twitter to post his condolences as well.