GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) — The Grand Rapids Public Schools community is mourning the death of a longtime City High Middle School coach.

Coach Bathian Mason passed away unexpectedly Wednesday morning following a medical episode. He coached middle school students at City for more than a decade.

A GRPS graduate, Coach Mason worked year-round coaching scholar-athletes in volleyball, girls and boys basketball, as well as track and field.

He was most recently on the court coaching scholars last week.

“He was always there doing it for the right reasons — promoting GRPS, promoting middle school athletics,” GRPS Middle School Athletics Coordinator Brodie Larson said. “He had that desire and passion to help the student-athletes be better at their sport…The kids loved him.”

Throughout his time at GRPS, Coach Mason won multiple tournament championships and watched the students he coached go on to become accomplished athletes in high school and beyond.

News of Coach Mason’s passing has been difficult to comprehend for the scholars he served.

“It was a shock,” Mr. Larson said. “Most of the kids — they didn’t have the words. They just couldn’t believe it.”

The scheduled basketball matchup between City and Grand Rapids University Prep Wednesday afternoon was rescheduled to allow scholars and staff time to process this loss. The game will be held Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. at City.

City High Middle administrators sent a letter to parents Wednesday evening. Support staff will be available for scholars needing extra support in the days ahead.

“This is a tremendous loss for our community and we are all grieving,” GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby, Ph.D said. “While we work through this grief, we will also celebrate all that Coach Mason did to enrich the lives of our young people. His commitment to our scholars inspires all of us to continue his legacy.”