Deane, a 22-year employee of Ford Motor Co. and a Troy resident, joined the Maples staff in 2008, brought on as an offensive coordinator by then-head coach Chris Fahr.
Deane graduated from Grosse Ile High School before attending Central Michigan University. Before joining the staff at Seaholm, Deane coached at Troy High School for 14 years, working as an offensive line coach and special teams coordinator. Before that, he coached at Grosse Ile and in Naples, FL.
Mentor, father and coach
Deane was "tremendous human being," said Gary Griffith, head football coach for Troy.
"Nick was the kind of guy you couldn't be in a room with and not have a smile on your face," said Griffith, who knew Deane for 25 years.
Griffith said Deane had three priorities in life: his family, his religious beliefs and football. A member of the Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Deane worked at the church as part of its special-needs ministry. He was a deeply religious man, Griffith said, and if Deane wasn't spending time with his family or the football team, he was volunteering at the church.
Deane was also a family man. He and his wife, Timari—high school sweethearts, Griffith said—have four children: Joshua, 29; Jared, 25; Jordan, 16; and Moriah, 10.
Football was a family affair for the Deanes, Griffith said, whether it was attending practices and games as a family, watching game films or hosting impromptu picnics for the coaching staff. Several of his sons played football for Troy, and during the 2010 season Jordan served as an undergraduate coaching assistant at Seaholm.
Above all, Griffith said, Deane was a people person who loved life and working with kids.
"He worked as hard as he possibly could," Griffith said. "(And the kids) picked up on his love for the game and how hard he worked."
Seaholm junior quarterback John Glazier told Patch in February that Deane was more than a football coach.
"He’s one of those football coaches who cares for all of his players," Glazier said. "Only a few coaches I’ve been with care about every kid in the program ... He plays like a secondary father figure to a lot of my teammates. Everything we do, he wants you to be successful with great expectations. He sets the bar very high.”
Kristen MacKay's son Austen plays football for Seaholm. She said there are no words to express the sadness felt Tuesday by parents and players alike.
"Nick Deane was an amazing man, and I was so looking forward to his leadership and love being passed on to my son," MacKay said. "I am shocked and deeply saddened at his passing, as is the entire Seaholm Maple nation. Coach Deane had such respect for the game of football and the game of life, and truly understood what it was to be a leader, a mentor, a father and a coach."
According to Griffith, the staff at Troy is in shock and disbelief at the news. "They keep saying, 'He's too young. He's got all these things to look forward to.'"
Seaholm Principal Terry Piper said an announcement was made to the student body at the beginning of first period Tuesday. Counselors will be available for members of the football team, who were told separately.
Patch will report funeral details and more information as it becomes available.