RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander community lost a vital part of the Hodag family this week.
54-year-old Mark Apfel passed away on Sunday, February 12th.
"He made everyone feel special," said former player, Zach Ready.
He was a long time football, basketball and baseball coach for hundreds of young men at Rhinelander High School.
"He was one of my favorite coaches," said Ready.
The impact of Apfel was felt even off the field.
"He taught me how to treat people. And how to appreciate everything that someone brings to the table. Not everyone can give you everything, but there's always something in someone," said Ready.
Ready is now a football coach for the Hodags. His time with Apfel helped shape him into the coach that he is today.
"He was one of the few coaches that would tell you they loved you and that he would do anything for you," said Ready.
One of Apfel's best friends and coaching partners, Mike Prom, also reflected on who Mark was as a coach.
"If they were in need financially or if they were in need of clothing, or if they needed encouragement, he was there," said Prom.
Prom has used this time to try and sum up Apfel's message to not only his players, but also the Rhinelander community.
"Be committed to people. Love people. Care for people. Get involved in their lives in whatever way you can," said Prom.
Apfel was always trying to make everyone around him better. Prom knows his friend would want his legacy to be heard.
"When you leave this earth, you're leaving a legacy. What kind of legacy are you leaving?" said Prom.
There will be a scholarship offered in Mark's name for Rhinelander senior student athletes. For more information, contact the high school guidance counselor.