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Tribute to Coach Prange

by Cork Snider

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Ed Prange, Loara’s basketball coach from 1990 to 2023, passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 2023 at a family gathering. He was 59 years old. 

 

This website was designed and maintained by my daughter. My name is Cork Snider, and I had the privilege of being Ed’s best friend for over 40 years. I was the best man at his wedding with his beautiful bride Marcella. We went through life together. That included 5 schools: Yorba Junior High, Orange High School, Cal State Fullerton, Chapman Teacher’s School, and a Masters’ program at Azusa Pacific University. We taught briefly together at Orange High School in 1989-90, where I assisted his women’s basketball team in a march to the semi-finals.

 

I would assist him some at Loara over the years. I coached against him at stops I made at Savanna High School and La Quinta High school. 

 

We also traveled together in the summer 20 consecutive summers–something our wives always encouraged.

 

This isn’t the venue for this, but just one word about Marci, his wife. It was like they were always dating. She would give him kisses after a big win in his mid -50s, a time when most coaches just go home and tell their wife what happened the next morning. Ed is 6’8” and Marci is this tiny woman. They were beyond cute together. She brought out the best in him.

 

Ed was extreme. Extremely competitive. Extremely reliable. Extremely honest. He had so many opportunities to cheat with recruiting; he never did. I saw kids show up at his school wanting to transfer. Ed would always call the other school and tell that coach a kid was shopping around. He didn’t have to. It wasn’t in his best interest. He always said “I would want someone to do that for me.” Of course that never happened.

 

He resented all the cheating in the high school basketball world. The club coaches that would take a high school job and stack it with players. He was, of course, from a different era. An era where you coached the kids in the neighborhood as best you could. An era when you were involved with your players as a mentor. He wrote personal letters to his players encouraging them and sent them via US Mail. I bet it was the only personal letter any of those kids ever got. His practice plans involved motivation. He had a word or phrase of the day for his kids. He was relentless in his effort and demanded that of his players. 

 

His practices were model lesson plans. 

 

He benched a lot of players. Stars or not. He had standards. He was driven by principles. 

 

None of this is an exaggeration. Ask anyone. At least anyone with integrity. 

 

He was old school.  He showed up on time. He missed 2 practices in 3 plus decades. The changing educational culture was not good to Ed. The values of “no excuses”, “be on time” and “play through it” were replaced by “I am not feeling it today”, “I have other obligations” and “I gotta do what’s best for me.” That was hard on Ed, who wouldn’t budge his standards.

 

CIF’s motto is “Academics. Integrity. Athletics.” To be honest, the integrity piece is missing in high school basketball. Ed had it. Everyone knew it. Officials. Opposing coaches. His players. With nearly 500 wins and 33 years at one school he embodies what loyalty is and what CIF should honor. I can’t think of a coach that spent so long at one school coaching such mediocre teams year after year. Most would give up. He never did, often telling me “I can’t quit on a bad team. That’s what all the other coaches do.” He wasn’t like most coaches; you could argue no one was like him. 

 

Ed and I talked each Sunday night for 40 years. We prayed for each other. When my mom nearly died in the middle of the night decades ago, I called Ed at 2am because he lived near my parents. He was there in 5 minutes wearing his underwear, a robe, and slippers. I told him “you could have put your pants on.” He replied, “it sounded important.”

 

I love you Ed. 

 

Cork Snider

La Quinta High School

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