OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -- An Olathe football coach has died following a battle with COVID-19.
Chris Burnett, 34, managed the running backs and was the assistant JV coach at Olathe East.
His parents, Kim and Carolyn, told KCTV5 football was his passion. Burnett seemed to have a way of connecting with his players.
They called him by his nickname, Cheese.
"He met them on their level. He didn't yell at them," his father, Kim, said. "Just met them on their level."
"I think that's why they loved him so much," his mother, Carolyn, said. "He could be goofy with them and and playing around with them and they'd do what he wanted them to do."
The Burnetts told KCTV5 that their son had first become sick with COVID-19 in late August. They said Burnett had been putting off getting a vaccine, despite their attempts to persuade him.
"He had diabetes," Kim said. "It hit so fast. Within three days he was very sick."
Burnett also volunteered for the Kansas City Glory, a women's football team. The Glory started a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $1,000 for Burnett's family in just a few days.
Tim Kestermont, the team's general manager, said Burnett seemed to give everything to his players.
"He was always giving," he said. "It didn't matter what the task was. He did it with a smile."
At Olathe East, students and faculty wore red shirts to school to show their support for Burnett.
The JV football team decided to move forward with their game Monday night. Players held a moment of silence before kickoff. Nick Ash, the head JV coach, said it was important to coaches and players to compete in Burnett's honor.
"It's probably going to hit me tonight," Ash said.
The Olathe School District said it would organize a show of support for Burnett at Friday night's game at Shawnee Mission Northwest.