ST. JOSEPH — Longtime St. Joseph-Ogden football coach Dick Duval died Thursday morning following an extended battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 64 years old. SJ-O superintendent Brian Brooks confirmed his death to The News-Gazette on Thursday afternoon.
Duval's death comes six days after the Hall of Fame coach was recognized last Friday night in an emotional ceremony at the Spartans' Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex. It included hundreds of well-wishers turning out to see Duval, flanked by his family, as SJ-O's football field officially was named Dick Duval Field.
Duval also served as a math teacher, baseball coach, athletic director and scoreboard operator — among other duties — during a career at SJ-O that began in 1988.
"It's just hard to wrap your mind around," Brooks said. "Just a tough day for our whole community. I know everybody outside the community looks at him as a football coach ... but our community lost a great man and a great ambassador for our SJ-O community."
Duval is the school's winningest football coach, dating back to the 1963 consolidation between St. Joseph and Ogden high schools. Duval guided the Spartans to 28 winning seasons in as many years that included a 251-75 record, 26 postseason berths and five state runner-up finishes.
An SJ-O Hall of Fame inductee and Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame honoree, Duval retired from coaching the Spartans after the 2015 season. His last campaign saw the SJ-O finish 12-1, win the Okaw Valley Conference and advance to the Class 3A state semifinals.
Brooks said plans are in the works for a remembrance of Duval prior to Friday night's football game between SJ-O and Monticello at Dick Duval Field.
"We will definitely have a moment of silence," Brooks said. "There's some people working on the possibility of painting a couple things in his memory on the football field."
Brooks acknowledged emotions likely will be high when that game kicks off at 7 p.m., noting that Duval was a part-time teacher at Monticello as well after his retirement from SJ-O.
"Dick would want it no other way than to play on and go out there and play under the lights on Friday night," Brooks said, "but it'll be a tough night and an exciting night at the same time."