TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – The tragic death of Brioni Rutland has devastated an entire Shoals community.
The 27-year-old spent more than half his life in the athletic circles at Deshler High School as both a player and volunteer coach.
“An outstanding athlete, person, he just worked so hard. He wouldn’t let anything beat him,” explained Deshler Athletic Director Patrick Smith.
Smith said he coached Rutland during his early days at Deshler, and welcomed him back as a three sport volunteer coach.
Smith’s job now is to try and also counsel the players who Rutland has touched, while trying to make sense of Rutland’s death.
“It’s a tragic situation and we’re just coming together as a family, and showing love to one another,” said Smith.
And Smith is asking the players and students to remember Rutland for the passionate man he was.
“He taught them how to work. He taught them how to care about things in life. And they need to continue to do that.”
First and foremost, Smith is also looking to the Deshler Tiger family to keep Rutland’s family lifted up.