R.I.P. Mark Garza 1969-2017

It is with deep sadness that we report that well known and beloved American football coach Mark Garza has passed away at the age of 48 while traveling in the Czech Republic.

Mark leaves a wife and two children.

A veteran of coaching in Europe with stints in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Slovenia, Finland, Italy and Poland. Garza, a native of Clovis, California was currently the head coach of the Magdeburg Virgin Guards in Germany’s third division.

He first came to Europe to coach in 1998 and since has touched the lives of hundreds of players, coaches and fans. He has won numerous championships and taken his teams to the playoffs almost every year he has coached.

He was enthusiastic and upbeat as a coach and a person, and inspired others the same way. He was constantly looking for ways to encourage and inspire his players and those around him.

His older brother Oscar said that  coaching with his little brother in Poland two years ago was a dream come true. According to him the following was his and Mark’s coaching philosophy and that Mark not only taught it but he lived it.

Mark Garza will certainly make his absence felt.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.