Tragedy struck Clinton County late Friday night as word spread about the death of Clinton County High School teacher and Boys’ Head Golf Coach Mike Anders.
Anders was apparently on his way to Knoxville, Tennessee, from Florida, when his plane went down in Flagler County Fla., around 2:19 p.m.
According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was a Beech Bonanza (BE35) aircraft heading to Downtown Island Airport in Knoxville when Anders reported a mechanical problem and diverted to the Flagler airport in Florida.
Anders’ plane crashed into a house in Palm Coast, Fla according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Homeowner Susan Crockett was apparently inside the house when the plane went down, but managed to get out through a window just after it impacted the residence.
Everyone on board the plane was killed in the accident including Anders, Duane Shaw, 59, a neighbor of Anders’, and Charissee Peoples, 42, according to the Florida Highway Patrol news release issued. Peoples was Shaw’s fiancée.
The three were flying back from vacationing in several spots in the Caribbean, according to reports.
Anders reported “severe shaking” and declared an emergency about 2:10 p.m., according to Flagler County sheriff’s spokeswoman Debra Johnson.
Anders was 58 years old on Friday, the day of the accident. He has been a Spanish teacher at Clinton County High School for the past two and a half years and was head coach of the golf team for the previous two years.
In his first years as coach, Anders had the privilege of taking two Clinton County golfers, Evan Shelley and Sawyer Stalcup to the state golf tournament.
Anders had a lot of love for his players and the game of golf. In an interview conducted two years ago with the NEWS for the Fall Sports Preview, Anders said he had been coaching golf for 26 years and loved every minute of it.
“You don’t coach for the money. You coach for the love of the game,” Anders said. “It’s a great game. It’s the last of the games with no referees. These kids are taught more than just a game. They are taught integrity, honesty … I’m not the coach that stops them in the middle of their round. I have to trust that once they take off they are on their own. It’s about life.”
Clinton County Superintendant Charlotte Bernard and CCHS Principal Sheldon Harlan met with teachers Saturday afternoon in order to prepare them for dealing with grieving students in the upcoming days. Harlan said he and his staff were going to open the school to those students who wanted to come out and talk about the tragedy.
“There was a lot of talk about how to have a successful grieving process and how they (students) need to be near, physically, how they knew the person,” Harlan said. “Monday the teachers will talk with the kids in small groups and give them all the information we know is true. With the fact that this is the weekend, and with Facebook, they will know a lot anyway, but we need to go through that process.”
The school was also open on Sunday from 2-4 p.m.
“He goes beyond being a good co-worker and employee … he was a good friend,” Bernard said. “He had a large impact on my children and the children of this school. He will be dearly missed.”
Other than being the golf coach, Anders was also the chess club sponsor and he drove the bus for the golf teams. This year he pledged to drive the pep bus to the basketball games for free.
“You don’t do stuff like that if you don’t love the kids,” Harlan said. “He did so many things that was outside his teaching that told me he really loved it here.”
Several students were on hand Saturday afternoon to gather in Anders’ room to show their respect. Students were heartbroken over the loss of their Spanish teacher and indications from the overwhelming responses on the social media site Facebook, he will be missed by everyone who had become acquainted with him.
Anders came to Clinton County three years ago and was hired to teach Spanish to Clinton County High School students.
Harlan said Anders told him when they first met, he had been in the area before and flown into Spring Creek Airport several times to fish on Dale Hollow Lake.
“When I first talked to him on the phone he told me there were two places he really wanted to go. He wanted to either go to southern Missouri or southern Kentucky,” Harlan said. “He told me he looked at Missouri’s education website and there wasn’t any openings for a Spanish teacher. He then pulled up Kentucky’s education department and there was an opening here.”
Harlan said Anders had very high standards as a teacher.
“That’s exactly what we wanted. I never wanted him to lower his standards in the classroom,” Harlan said. “He was always passionate about teaching. That’s about the only time I saw him upset was when something wasn’t going right in the classroom, but he would be over it in 30 seconds … he was happy go lucky. If you left that classroom with a good grade then you knew Spanish and that’s what he wanted. He was as passionate about teaching as some of my younger teachers.”
Upon getting the head coaching position for the golf team, Anders obtained his Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in order to drive the bus on away and home matches. Clinton County’s home course is Dale Hollow State Resort Park, so the team traveled together to the course with Anders at the wheel.
“He did so many things for no pay. He went and got his CDLs because he knew he had some great golfers coming up and instead of paying a driver to be at the course and waiting on them to get finished with a match, he would just drive the bus himself,” Harlan said.
Anders was a huge supporter of all sports at Clinton County High School. He volunteered to drive the pep bus this year and numerous other gestures for the school for no additional pay.
“He was a fantastic person,” Harlan said. “He will be greatly missed.”
In light of the tragic accident, Bro. David Dorn has agreed to drive the pep bus to away games in Anders’ honor.
Former head golf coach Mike Tallent, one of Anders’ closest friends in Clinton County, said Anders was a good friend and he will be missed.
“He enjoyed life and he lived life to the fullest,” Tallent said. “I’ve made that trip with him before … I could have very well been with him.”
Tallent said Anders did what he wanted to do in life and loved every minute of it. Not much got under Anders’ skin according to Tallent and that’s what he projected to the people around him.
“I’ve been to his house a hundred times at least,” Tallent said. “We made the exact same trip last year. We were down there for 28 days. He was an enjoyable person to be around … I really liked him.”
Anders leaves behind two children with his ex-wife, Patti Anders.
A memorial service was held at the Clinton County High School Wednesday.
Funeral arrangements for Mike Anders were not finalized at press time, Tuesday.