JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The high school baseball community is mourning the loss of Christ’s Church head coach Chris Spann after his unexpected death on Thursday.
In tributes that have poured in across social media since his death, Spann has been remembered fondly as a great father, coach and friend with a larger than life personality who was always there for friends and family. Friends said that even if Spann was going through a difficult time in life, he would push his challenges to the side to help out. He was 50 years old.
In a statement, Christ’s Church said Spann would be missed by players and the community alike. Spann was entering his third season as the Eagles’ head coach.
“The Christ’s Church Academy family mourns the passing of our friend and varsity baseball coach, Chris Spann. Coach Spann was a dedicated coach and caring mentor for many students at our school. We are praying for the comfort and strength of the Spann family and thank God for the many years of service that Coach Spann blessed our school with. We find comfort in the hope that Jesus brings to all who know Him as Saviour and are blessed to have had Chris Spann as a dear member of our school family,” the school said.
Spann was an area lifer and easy to spot around a baseball diamond, be it in travel ball, high school or just at a game watching. He was a two-way star for University Christian in his high school days and helped the Christians win their third state championship in 1990.
He later returned to UC and helped coach before leaving for Christ’s Church. Spann got his first high school head coaching job with Christ’s Church in 2020 as he took over the program from longtime coach Kurt Dugan. He wore No. 20 with the Eagles to honor his high school coach at UC, John Brown.
At high school media day earlier this month, Spann said he was pumped to start his third season with the Eagles.
“We were so excited when he came to CCA from UC five years ago,” said friend and coaching colleague Jeff Feltman. “We knew it was a good fit. He would often check the status of players he coached in the past to see how they were doing now. He didn’t care who was playing, but if we weren’t he was watching a game somewhere.”
Off the field, Spann was an easy person to connect with. Baseball was a common denominator in many ways, but Spann was a social bridge. He was a common sight at live music shows around town and never met a stranger.
Spann is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and sons, Matthew and Tyler. His daughter, Addilyn, died at 2 years old in 2018. Spann seldom failed to mention or honor Addilyn in the time after her death. A GoFundMe has been set up for Spann’s family.
Spann and his wife started the AddieStrong5K event after her passing. That event has gone on to raise more than $50,000 in donations that the couple has given to Wolfson Children’s Hospital Duran Genetics Center. The couple also partnered with Johnson & Johnson Vision to hold a toy drive in their daughter’s memory with hundreds of stuffed animals and toys going to Wolfson.
Spann’s passing is the second of an area varsity head coach in the last month. Tocoi Creek golf coach Kevin Fagan died unexpectedly in late January.