Coach Long Defies Odds with Short Recovery

Popular teacher and coach returns to Pleasant Ridge this week after triple bypass


Coach Long smiles as he poses with the other Pleasant Ridge football coaches.

Grace Odgers, Claire Meyers, Contributors

Teacher Jerald Long, beloved coach at Pleasant Ridge Middle School, had open heart surgery five weeks ago but is now back at school. Long experienced blockage in both arteries at the start of the school year, troubling the Pleasant Ridge and BV West communities.

“It is very devastating,” freshman Sara Alam said. “He was one of my favorite teachers.”      

Long was a student favorite, so many were concerned upon finding out about the incident.

“He is always uplifting and never judgmental,” freshman Kylie Sheline said. “He made the environment a lot more inviting.” 

His influence on students was felt by many.

“Even on the first day of school, you could just tell that he loved his job,” freshman Jillian Vistuba said.

In addition to teaching physical education, Long also coached girls and boys basketball, track and field and football. Some students fondly recall his joke of the day or nicknames that he called the students.

“I was on his A2 basketball team,” freshman Hannah Cowen said. “He has made a big impact on my life. He made A2 basketball the best ever.”

Students often flocked to Long because of his positive influence.

“I was a football manager and his boy’s basketball manager,” eighth-grader Sarah Alam said.

Long has a lasting impact on his players, and has inspired his former students and players to push themselves not only in sports, but in life.

“I really hope he is okay,” Alman said. “He is a really nice guy.” 

The community surrounded Long and his family. On Sept. 19, the Go Fund Me set up to help the Long family had raised $23,014.

“I think everyone should donate to Coach Long’s Go Fund Me,” freshman Kolbie Christensen said. “I hope Coach Long recovers quickly so that he can get back to doing what he loves.” 

Christensen and other’s wishes will be answered next week when he returns to Pleasant Ridge.

“Each day gets better and better,” Long said. “Throw that family history in with a few Big-Macs and that is what got me where I am at.” 

His commitment to eating healthier and continuing to work out should help prevent future problems.