The sporting community in Goodrich has been dealt a heavy blow with the sudden passing of Kres Washington, a figure beloved for his coaching prowess and warm personality. The town, particularly the basketball enthusiasts and students, was left in a state of mourning following the news that emerged on January 16, 2024. Social media tributes poured in, with one poignant Facebook post encapsulating the collective sorrow: “Words can’t express the way I feel about the news of Kres Washington’s passing. I’m honoured to have met you, my friend. Many people will miss you.” The cause of Washington’s death remains undisclosed, leaving many to reflect on the profound impact he had within the basketball community and beyond.
The death of Washington has cast a shadow over the local sports scene, notably coinciding with a milestone for Gary Barns, the boys’ basketball head coach at Goodrich, who recently celebrated his 500th career victory. The assistant coach for the junior varsity team, Washington was also contributing to the education sector, working at Oaktree Elementary in the Goodrich school system. His passing was particularly shocking as it occurred on the cusp of his 51st birthday, while he was engaging with students in the library.
This recent tragedy is not an isolated event for the Goodrich sports program, which has been grappling with a series of losses. In the preceding month, the community grieved the deaths of Landon Brown’s father and Kathleen Scholar, a dedicated scorekeeper for the basketball teams. The compounded grief has weighed heavily on the school and its affiliates.
Gary Barns, who has experienced his share of personal and professional challenges during his tenure, including the loss of his son David to cancer in 2012, commented on the adversity faced this year, describing it as the most tragic he has had to confront. Barns recounted Washington’s active role in the school’s sports, noting his contributions as a football coach the previous season and leading a seventh-grade team. Reassurances about Washington’s wellbeing were given only a day before his passing, after a visit to his physician and a seemingly routine farewell after basketball practice.
As the community continues to process the sudden departure of Kres Washington, the void left by his absence is felt across the board—from the basketball courts where he mentored young athletes to the classrooms where he inspired the minds of students. The legacy of his service, kindness, and passion for sports endures, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of those he touched.