Both Florence and Mesa suddenly lost one of its best when Gophers' football coach Steve McKane passed away early Tuesday morning after suffering an apparent heart attack at his home.
McKane, 38, was a two-way, All-State player at center and linebacker at Mesa High. He played on two state championship teams with the Jackrabbits (1990 and 1992). After serving a church mission, he returned and played four seasons at Utah (1997-2000).
Steve McKane was in his second season as Florence's coach after being an assistant for one year at the school and several years around the Valley as an assistant. Florence is 3-3 in 2013 and the team is preparing for Friday's homecoming game against Combs.
Steve McKane will be inducted into the Mesa Sports Hall of Fame in November for his prowess on the football field.
Steve's father, Bill McKane, was a longtime Mesa coach and is the current Florence defensive coordinator. He'll be the school's interim coach the rest of this season.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.