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North Central HS athletic director’s will legacy live on after his death from coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Friday night lights were lit at empty stadiums on Monday night to honor a beloved athletic director who lost his fight with the coronavirus.

As we reported Sunday, Paul Loggan had been a fixture at North Central High School for more than 30 years.

Turning the stadium lights on in his honor is a gesture being repeated all over this state and even into neighboring states.

Paul’s son, Michael Loggan, said community support has made an unbelievable situation just a little more bearable. There’s comfort knowing that even in death, his dad’s legacy lives on.

“We’re so proud to call him our dad. We were fortunate enough for him to be our dad. There’s a lot of kids out there that he’s their father figure and they didn’t have the privilege to call him dad, but he was there for them whenever he could be,” Michael said.

The Easter miracle hoped for by the Loggan family was not to be. A phone call at 1:40 p.m. was the exact opposite, as doctors informed the family Paul had died minutes earlier, 11 days after being dropped off at the hospital.

Michael said some of those doctors and nurses at St. Vincent’s had become like family after so many frequent updates.

“He’s at peace now and no longer in pain, which is ultimately is what he needs to be. He’s not suffering anymore,” Michael said.

Still Paul fought on till the end, even a week beyond his 57th birthday the previous Sunday, when it looked like he might have just hours left.

It was a week more for his family to get countless messages of thoughts and prayers.

“Just the support of the community is behind us, has been overwhelming,” Michael said. “We can’t thank them enough.”

Washington Township School Board member Wanda Thruston has had five children graduate from North Central, including one who was on the football team and particularly close with “Papa Loggan.”

“He was an absolutely amazing man who cared for all the children, all students,” Thruston said.

She also echoed Michael’s words in saying that Paul was like a father to many students who didn’t have one. She said Paul would keep up with them long after they graduated and attended many of their weddings.

She’s proud she was on the school board when he was promoted to athletic director in 2014, saying they couldn’t have found someone from outside as committed to the school, who knew everyone and every inch of the facilities.

She said he touched so many lives, he has made the coronavirus pandemic real for them.

Michael’s message is similar to sports agent and family friend Buddy Baker, who lost both parents to the coronavirus on March 31, after 51 years of marriage, just six minutes apart, on what turned out to be Paul’s last full day at home.

“It can happen to anyone. You sit at home thinking, ‘Oh, it won’t happen to me,’ but oh it happens. It happens fast,” Michael said. “Value your time with your loved ones because you never know when it could come to an end.”

While Paul’s time on earth has come to an end, it’s clear his impact on others is just beginning and won’t be forgotten.

“Keep your heads up, no matter what happens,” Michael said. “The sun will shine another day.”

But for now, the only things shining bright Monday night are the stadium lights at North Central and other fields where people have been touched by Loggan. A look at the hashtag “PaulStrong” shows a partial list of those stadiums, including nearby rival schools like Carmel and Lawrence North, and more distant places like Kokomo, Mishawaka and even Cincinnati Oak Hills.

Because of health concerns, Paul will have no funeral.

But Michael tells News 8 when things get back to normal, there will be a celebration of life planned and announced because his dad was adamant, if anything happened to him, he didn’t want people to sit around and cry — he wanted them to have a good time.