Coach who dropped 100 pounds over last 4 years dies after run with students

Ravi Baichwal Image
Monday, February 5, 2018
NW Indiana teacher, coach dies after run with students
EMBED <>More Videos

Dan Runyan, 45, of Portage, collapsed while with students from Grimmer Middle School's running club.

SCHERERVILLE, Indiana -- A northwest Indiana teacher and coach died suddenly on Friday while on a run with some of students.

Two days earlier, Dan Runyan, 45, of Portage, collapsed while with students from the running club at Schererville's Grimmer Middle School.

Runyan is survived by his wife, Heather Runyan, and children, ages 9 and 14, who received well wishes from a community devastated by the loss of the beloved science teacher.

"He definitely was a leader in our family, he was definitely an inspiration to not only our children, but to all the students," said Heather Runyan.

In the last four years, Dan Runyan had turned his life around dramatically, dropping over 100 pounds and committing to a life of healthy pursuits, primarily running. He was training for the Chicago Marathon.

Before he died, Runyan had taken the students to a park on Wednesday, which had no snow on the ground as the weather was unseasonably warm.

After a brief warm-up, he collapsed.

Kathy Grimler, an art teacher and fellow runner, stayed with him until paramedics arrived.

Runyan's principal says these few days have been difficult at school. But, he said that Runyan - also known as Coach Dan - had a personality that is a guide for people to move on.

"He was just funny. He infused humor in the classroom," said Grimmer principal John Alessia. "He definitely made it fun for the kids."