Players, staff mourn loss of Republic coach

Players, staff mourn loss of Republic coach

REPUBLIC -– Counselors will be on hand tomorrow for students of the Republic-Michigamme School District following the tragic weekend death of a basketball coach, whose funeral services are set for this Wednesday.

56–year–old Matthew A. Davidson of 2101 Co. Rd. FD in Champion (Humboldt Twp) was apparently returning home from his camp early Sunday morning when he lost control of his Ford F-150 on snow-covered U.S.-41 near Tioga Creek in Baraga County. Davidson’s vehicle was east bound, and crossed the center-line of US-41, struck a snow embankment, and flipped.

Matt Davidson was Republic-Michigamme’s K-12 Physical Education and Health teacher for the last 16 years. With more than a decade of coaching experience in the school district, Davidson served for six years as both the Girl’s and Boy’s Varsity Basketball coach.

In 2003, Davidson led the Girl’s Varsity team to a Regional Championship. He was the current Girl’s J.V. and Varsity Basketball Coach, and the track coach.

The school district put out a statement that described the sadness of losing their coach. The statement from Supt. Paul Currie said Davidson was a “great motivator of students,” who grew up attending local schools, and returned to Humboldt in 1994.

“In 2003 he led the Girl’s Varsity team to an exciting Regional Championship,” Currie said. Coach Davidson “could get his players and students to believe in themselves and what they could accomplish.”

“We are saddened by this loss, but we know that Matt would have wanted us to move forward in a positive way,” Currie said. “He will be greatly missed.”

The Republic–Michigamme School District did not have classes Monday because they are on a four-day week. However, teachers, staff and others plan to help comfort students when they return to class tomorrow morning.

Funeral services for Davidson will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home in Ishpeming. Family will greet relatives and friends prior to the funeral from 4 to 7 pm at the funeral home. A celebration of his life will be held following the service at the 41 Steak House.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the family of Matt Davidson, 2101 Co. Rd. FD, Champion, MI 49814 for scholarships to be set up in Matt’s name for his grandson Max Davidson and at the Republic-Michigamme School District.

The following information on the coach Davidson’s life was released by the Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home:

Matt was born June 23, 1958 in Ishpeming the son of Gerry (Nichol) and the late Paul Davidson. He grew up in Humboldt Twp. and attended the Champion School thru the tenth grade. Matt attended his final two years of high school at Westwood, graduating with the Class of 1976. While in high school Matt was active in football, basketball and track.

Following graduation Matt had lived for brief periods in Oregon and Texas prior to settling in South Florida. Matt resided in Florida until 1994, where his son Jarrett was born in 1993 and his former wife Catherine was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1993. He returned to Humboldt in 1994 where he had resided since. Matt had graduated from NMU with a bachelor of science degree in teaching and was currently employed by the Republic-Michigamme School District as a teacher and coach for the past 15 years.

Matt was active in the West-End and Ishpeming City basketball leagues and took part annually in the N.I.T. basketball tournament. He also volunteered with the Westwood High School Alumni Softball Tournament annually. Matt thoroughly enjoyed his time spent teaching and coaching students and young athletes in the Republic-Michigammme schools.

Matt had recently bought a log cabin which he and his lifelong buddy Sandy were working to restore in Covington, with hopes of retiring and taking up his passion of farming and gardening. Matt also enjoyed fishing, especially for Walleye.

Survivors include his son Jarrett (Stephanie Herlache) Davidson and grandson Max Davidson of Stevens Point, WI, his mother Gerry Davidson of Humboldt Twp., two sisters – Kristine (Dave) Keranen of Ishpeming and Kay (Carl) Bammert of Marquette, nieces and nephews Sarah (Troy) Henderson, Elena (Jimmy) Hemmila, Libby (Tim) Larsen, Rachel Bammert and Matthew Bammert, along with numerous great nieces and great nephews and his lifelong buddy Sandy Wood of Negaunee.

The family will greet relatives and friends from 4 until 7pm on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at the Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home. Funeral services will follow at 7:00pm on Wednesday at the Bjork & Zhulkie Funeral Home with the Rev. D. Michael Carriere to officiate. Interment will take place in the spring at the Humboldt Twp. Cemetery. Everyone is invited to the 41 Steakhouse following the services to share memories of Matt.