HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — “You will never be forgotten,” “Thank you for always being there,” and “You were the heart and soul,” are a few of the hand-written messages lining the hallway of Prince Tech High School in Hartford in memory of Coach Kendall May.
Hartford police say May was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Main Street Friday evening. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“[May] impacted the lives of thousands of students while he was here and hundreds of athletes,” said Prince Tech Principal Daniel Mello.
The 56-year-old coached boys’ basketball, cross-country running, and girls’ outdoor track.
The school’s athletic director, Dennis Mercado, said whenever the Falcons needed a coach, May was there.
Local high school basketball coach killed in Hartford hit-and-run
“We need a girls’ outdoor track coach, and when I was talking to him, he just said, ‘For what position? Okay, I got you,’ Mercado said. ‘And he just stepped right up.’”
Mello says the beloved coach stepped up in another way — a way many people did not see.
“He would provide breakfast for all his players on a Saturday morning when they came in. He would provide clothing to other students that were in need,” Mello said. “These were things that were done very discreetly and on his own.”
May graduated from Prince Tech in the 1980s, then he returned to his alma mater in the 1990s. Along with athletics, May worked with students as an educational assistant.
Graduates Jose Fornez and Lu Bailey, Class of 2002 and 1996 respectively, say May had a heart of gold but showed tough love.
“[May] made me into the man that I am because of the little stuff that he did, and he showed me that he cared because I didn’t have a male figure,” Bailey said.
“If i did something wrong in school, by the time I got home my father already knew about it since [May] was one of my dad’s customers [at his mechanic],” Fornez said.
Leaders say Prince Tech brought in school counselors, therapy dogs, and other resources to support students and staff Monday.
We’re told funeral arrangements have not been announced, but the school plans on hosting a memorial at some point.
Meanwhile, Hartford police are still investigating the fatal hit-and-run crash. They’re searching for a grey Jeep Cherokee with the Vermont registration plate KGE457.