INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Paul Loggan was a local legend long before he was eulogized.
The North Central High School athletic director was “larger than life,” friends said, and filled his life with accomplishments that transcended death.
He was fiercely devoted to family, helped form the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and inspired countless student athletes to pursue excellence on and off the field.
“It was probably thousands,” North Central head football coach Kevin O’Shea said. “He was a big influence in this school corporation for over 30 years.”
Loggan died in April from COVID-19. He was 57.
Students, colleagues and loved ones gathered Friday night at North Central’s Panther Stadium to celebrate the life of the beloved coach, mentor, community leader and father figure.
Attendees sat apart from each other and avoided embracing, but the sense of togetherness was palpable.
Loggan was there in spirit, his son said.
A larger-than-life photo of the late athletic director stood beside a podium on the football field.
His voice seemed to boom across the stadium when speakers did their best impressions of Loggan.
“I knew I was in trouble at school when he asked me, ‘What are you doing tonight, big guy?'” student media director Tom Gayda said, recalling how Loggan often dragged him to games at Ben Davis, Center Grove or “somewhere near Shelbyville.”
Corey Johnson, an Indiana University graduate who was quarterback captain at North Central, told the laughing crowd how Loggan took one of his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when he was trying to bulk up as a sophomore.
“He took it and ate it! I was confused because I was like, ‘Coach, you told me to gain weight.’ He said, ‘But I was hungry,'” Johnson said.
He and O’Shea thanked Loggan for furthering their careers and inspiring them with his boundless energy.
Loved ones were determined to keep the mood celebratory. But attendees wiped away tears when Loggan’s oldest son, Michael, took the podium to bid a final farewell.
“I told myself I wouldn’t tear up or choke up,” he said. “I can hear my dad in the background saying, ‘The sun’s going to come up another day.’ And it sure is.”
The loss of his father felt “unreal” at times, Michael told News 8, adding he missed him “like crazy.”
He and his siblings still expected Loggan to walk through the door some nights.
“I know he’s up there,” Michael said. “One thing he always told me growing up was, ‘Hey, if anything ever happens to me, don’t sit around crying about my life. Celebrate it.'”