GARY, Ind. -- Marvin Rae, 49, built a dynasty of a basketball program but valued being a mentor to all kids who came his way.
His sudden death has friends and loved ones heartbroken.
Rae was killed in a multi-car and truck pileup on I-65 in Tippacanoe County. A female friend traveling with him, Kelli Nicole Bradley, was killed as well.
"He cared a lot about kids," said Tyrone Robinson, a coach at Bowman Academy. "He created a basketball program to teach kids how to grow up and be young men."
It's been about 24 hours since Robinson and others received the tragic news.
Robinson knew Rae since the 1980s when the two played at Gary Roosevelt High School.
The 49-year-old excelled at academics and hoops. He was a walk-on at Purdue University and played for Coach Gene Keady.
Rae was a coach and athletic director at Bowman where he promoted a family-like atmosphere, guiding the program from its beginnings to a level of dominance unparalleled. He led the Eagles to four consecutive state title appearances and two championship trophies.
For the last two years, Rae took on the challenge of building a new program coaching at Gary's Lighthouse College Prep Academy.
But his friends say as much as he was focused on the game, it was a means to get his kids to excel at the much more important game of life.
"I am coping," said Arthur Haggard, Bowman's Athletic Director & Dean of Students. "It's very difficult. I don't want to believe it's true.
"He would go the extra mile above and beyond for all the children."