The connections we make in life are largely what define and shape who we are and who we will one day become.

Parents, of course, and siblings and extended family are soon enough joined by a network of friends and acquaintances who form the community in which we grow up. Teachers – and coaches – represent some of the most influential voices outside of family many of us are likely to ever encounter.

Those who came into contact with Don Webb are among the fortunate.

Coach Webb, a fixture at Bowling Green High School for decades as a coach, administrator and driving instructor, passed away Feb. 11 at age 89.

It’s a profound loss for the Bowling Green community, for those who knew Webb personally and for those who didn’t have that privilege.

Born in the Edmonson County community of Sweeden, Webb contracted polio as a child but still went on to play and coach both basketball and baseball.

Webb began his coaching career at Brownsville High School (1961-66). He moved on to Richardsville High School (1967-68) before landing at Bowling Green High School in 1969.

At Bowling Green, Webb coached basketball (1969-75) and totaled 123 victories including the 1973 Fifth Region title. That represented the Purples’ first region title and trip to the KHSAA Sweet 16.

Webb tallied an overall winning percentage of 75.5% in his tenure.

Webb took over as Bowling Green’s athletic director in 1975 and oversaw the school’s programs win multiple district, region and state titles spanning 22 years of service.

In 1996, Webb’s accomplishments were recognized at the state level when he was selected as the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Athletic Director of the Year.

For more than three decades, Webb helmed the BGHS driver’s education program and spent 36 years instructing at the Kentucky State Traffic School.

Sharing 59 years of marriage, Webb was preceded in death by Marcella Hensley Webb. They are survived by their children – daughter Gayla Webb Miller and sons Rickey Byron Webb and Kerry Alan Webb – as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren and numerous extended family. A member of Eastwood Baptist Church, Webb was ordained as a deacon in 2006.

While the Bowling Green community will miss the customary warm smile and friendly greeting from Coach Webb, his impact will long be felt.

Webb molded winners on the court, likely saved lives behind the wheel and made numerous other contributions to the benefit of so many others.

So it is a sad farewell, but a fond one for Coach Webb.

“Our Opinion” pieces in the Bowling Green Daily News exclusively represent the majority opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of any other Daily News employees.