Students mourn loss of Cranbrook head football coach who died in vehicle crash

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Posted at 7:53 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 20:32:37-04

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Students and players at Cranbrook Kingswood private school are mourning the loss of head football coach Ben Jones, who died Monday night in a vehicle crash.

"His sudden loss is tragic for his family, his friends, and you, his peers," said Steve Gaf, athletic director. "In addition, I am asking each of you to join me in supporting the young men on the football team. This would be devastating news to them even if it had not come on the heels of their season being postponed, and during the extraordinary COVID-19 challenges they face with all students."

The details of the crash have not been released. Counseling resources have been provided to students to assist with the grieving process.

Players, coaches and parents will meet Saturday morning to reflect on Jones' impact during his time as head football coach. Gaf also noted in a statement to students that there will be a larger gathering for the community to participate in to honor Jones' life.

Dear CK Football Family,

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I send this email.

There are no words to express how we are all feeling right now after receiving the tragic news today of Coach Ben Jones passing. There is a void in all of our hearts as we process. There are so many good things to say about Coach Ben and I hope each of you as teammates, families and coaches take the time to share those words and stories. We have lost a great leader, mentor and friend. I can tell each of you without reservation, that Coach Jones cared about you, loved you, appreciated you and always wanted the best for you as a players, as parents and as coaches. We don’t take the term “football family” lightly and as a football family….we are all hurting. Players, reach out to one another and be there for each other….you have the ability to make each other feel better simply talking about how you are feeling.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers with Ben’s family as we support them in their time of grief. We will all be there for them. As the family completes funeral arrangements, we will be sure to pass them on to you.

We will all grieve in our own ways and our counseling staff has shared some resources to help us in that process. If at anytime there is a need, our counselors are here for you. Karen Gomez, Director of Wellness, (248) 645-3465 and Neda Ebrahimi, Lead Upper School Wellness Counselor, (248) 645-3416 have shared with you that “during this very difficult time of grief and loss, you may need and want additional support. Please do not hesitate to reach out directly at any time to your CK Counseling Team: Karen Gomez, Director of Wellness, (248)645-3465/, Neda Ebrahimi, Lead Upper School Counselor (215)692-4301/, Michael Young, Clinical Psychologist,, and Lou Przybylski, School Psychologist, To assist you in understanding the grieving process further, please click on the resource below: Death Shock: How to Recover When a Loved One Dies Suddenly []. Lastly, Greif presents in a variety of ways. Normal stress reactions may include: Cognitive: confusion, disorientation, memory loss, difficulty performing tasks & trouble making decisions. Behavioral Symptoms: withdrawal, excessive humor, hyperactivity, excessive talkativeness & prolonged silence . Physical Symptoms: sweating headaches, dizziness, upset stomach &muscle tremors. Emotional Symptoms: Feelings of numbness, Guilt feeling detached from reality, Melancholy / crying & Anger.

Finally, we invite players, coaches and parents to meet at the Oval Saturday morning at 10:00. This will give us time to gather as family and, simply, be together. This invitation is of course optional and we will have to be mindful of social distancing (“spots”) and our covid protocol. We need to wear our masks and be sure that anyone with any symptoms stays home. We also have to be mindful of numbers gathering in one space. We would like to reserve Saturday morning for our immediate football family so that we stay under the number allowed to gather. We will likely separate into one area for players and coaches…and another area for parents.

We promise there will be time for a larger gathering in the not so distant future that you, former teammates and families, the Cranbrook Community and Coach Jones family will be a part of. Please give each other the hugs we all need.

Coach Jones will be missed.

Coach Graf