Community mourns loss of popular Yulee High football coach

Pat Dunlap made big impression on players before losing battle with cancer

YULEE, Fla. – Longtime Yulee High School football coach Pat Dunlap is being remembered fondly by generations of students, players, friends and family. Dunlap coached football to hundreds of kids in Yulee, including Tennessee Titans’ running back Derrick Henry. The beloved coach died last week after a long battle with lung cancer.  

Dunlap's daughter-in-law said while he was known to many as a coach on the field and off, football was always second place when it came to his priorities.

"He loved his family more than anything," said his daughter-in-law, Brooke Dunlap. "I was actually afraid of my father-in-law for the first five years I was with my husband. He intimidated the mess out of me."  

But at his core, Brooke said, her father-in-law was a big teddy bear.

"When it came to his grandkids, he was the biggest softy," Brooke said.

She said he had a way of bringing out the best in everybody -- especially the kids he coached.

"He was a really good motivator and could make you do anything you wanted to," Brooke said. "He was very involved, very hands-on. I will help you, but you have to put the work in, if you’re ready to work, I will take you wherever you want to go. Those kids were everything to him, for sure."  
She said he also meant everything to his family, his wife, two children and two grandchildren. Brooke said although he never coached her, he taught her much about life.

"To me, never give up. He fought so hard that whole time. He was never worried about himself. He was worried about his wife, his kids and grandkids... anybody but himself. He fought every day to live.  And that’s what I always remember. It doesn’t matter. You keep going. You have to keep going," Brooke said.

Pat Dunlap’s wake will be held at 6 p.m.Wednesday at Green Pine Funeral Home and Cemetery. His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Fernandina Beach.   

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