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Community mourns the loss of beloved baseball coach

By Beth Cox
Sports writer

It has been said that a coach can affect more lives in one year than an average person can in a lifetime. Coach P as he was called, taught and coached at Johnson County High School for 28 years; there is no question he made an impact on the lives of many. Standout Longhorn pitcher, Asa Lewis was one of those people. Lewis said in his tribute to Pavusek, “you pushed us every day to be a better version of ourselves on and off the field and shaped us into the men we are today. It was a blessing and an honor to play for you.” Lewis’ dad, Matthew appreciated Pavusek for fighting for his players, “he took the role of a parent sometimes, he was protective of his players and would always have their backs.”
When news broke of Coach P’s passing, social media was covered with sweet tributes to a man who was loved by his family, his school and his community. It was a life cut and a family left to mourn over their husband, father, and son. A community also in shock and left to make sense of it all.
Pavusek attended high school in Livermore California. He began his baseball career at Granada High School. He then went to college at the University of Maine. He drove from Maine to Tennessee in the early 90’s to pursue a master’s degree in Physical Education, which is where he met Coach Austin Atwood who described how they met, “We saw Pete hitting some baseballs one night, he was good, so we asked him to join our traveling softball team. he would stay with us a lot; it was like having another brother around.” Pavusek and Atwood started their teaching career at JCHS around the same time and remained close friends until the sudden death of Pavusek Thursday night.
Coach P certainly accomplished many things in coaching career; many of his players went on to play college ball including his own son, Petie who is currently playing baseball for King University. However, as many reflect on the life lived by the beloved coach, it was not his 337 wins but his character. Softball coach Greg Reece said of his coaching colleague and friend, “he was loved by students and faculty for one reason, his honesty. He was never one to hide his feelings, he was brutally honest but always added a little humor to any situation. Reece concluded, “I’m going to miss him so much, not as a coach but as a friend.” Pavusek assistant coach of sixteen years, Eric Crabtree saw a man dedicated to the kids, “he hated to lose, but he never lost sight of the kids and his love for them. He never let a kid go without anything. He expected his players to play to the best of their ability. He cared for each player and wanted them to succeed on and off the field.”
Pavusek was certainly a great coach, but a better family man. He loved his wife Diane who was also an educator at JCHS. He adored his sons Petie and Peyton. If Pavusek wasn’t coaching his sons, the proud dad was watching them play on a field or court somewhere. The other lady in his life was his mom, Barbara, who was also around to watch her favorite guys play. They were a close family and there is no doubt the community will rally around them during this time of loss. Director of Schools, Dr. Mischelle Simcox shared the sentiment of many, “our community has suffered a great loss, the impact Coach P had on his players and students will never be forgotten.”
Go rest high, Coach P, you served your time on Earth well.
Services for Coach P will be Wednesday at the JCHS gymnasium at 8:00 pm. Visitation will start at 5pm and end at 8:00. Graveside services will be at 11:00 am on Thursday, February 10 at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. The procession to Pleasant Grove will begin at Hux and Lipford Funeral Home at 10:15 am.
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