Community remembers beloved coach with vigil and balloon release | Education


More than 500 people attended a community candlelight prayer vigil and balloon release Thursday in the parking lot of Palestine High School, in remembrance of coach Michael Coyne who was killed Sunday night in an accident.

Junior High School principal Joey Mason and First Baptist Church pastor Tony Watson led the service. Mason said “Coyne loved children” and “he will be missed”.

The vigil was a time for friends, family, colleagues and students to come together to honor Coyne and pray for the two students involved in the tragic accident that took the beloved coach’s life.

Blue balloons, Coyne’s favorite color, courtesy of Walmart Palestine and florist Wildflowers, were released at the event.

Coyne, a Palestine Middle School teacher and coach, and two of his students attended Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, May 22.

The PISD school year ended on Friday May 20 and it was not a school trip. Coyne had taken the two students to the game to comfort them following a recent and sudden death in their family.

Coyne was returning Sunday evening when he and his passengers were struck by a contraflow driver traveling north in a southbound lane of I-45 and struck two vehicles at the 265-mile marker. The driver of the vehicle was in a head-on collision in the southbound lanes of I-45, just south of Mars Rd.

The three occupants of the oncoming vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene. In the other vehicle, the driver, Coyne, was pronounced dead at the scene and the two minors were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries.

Coyne joined the Palestine coaching staff a year ago after a stint in Jacksonville. He has coached high school girls’ basketball, volleyball and track and field. He leaves behind his wife, Bethany Coyne, and a baby girl, as well as a host of other family members and friends.

Cash donations and gift cards to help each of the families are dropped off at the Christian Heritage Academy/Southside Baptist Church, 1500 Crockett Rd in Palestine, during their normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations for Coyne’s wife, Bethany, can also be made through PayPal at

For more information, call 903-729-6064 or 903-729-1280.


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