DANSVILLE — Homecoming night wasn’t just about a scoreboard and touchdowns, but a bittersweet memory of a beloved coach.
Kyle Button, 30, lost his battle with stage 4 colon cancer in 2015, and left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Button was a teacher, coach, father, husband, son, friend, and mentor. His portrait hangs on the Wall of Pride in the Dansville Central School. His spirit was on the football field Friday night when the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, Dansville VFW, and Dansville American Legion honored him the only way they could.
Airman Jake Quibell, a former student and football player, chose to honor his favorite coach with a commissioned American Flag. Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Quibell, Jake’s father, presented the flag to the Button family before gametime.
The Button family present for this special ceremony were Lynne (Kyle’s wife), Matthew (Kyle’s son), Paul (Kyle’s dad), and Tina (Kyle’s mom) along with members of the Dansville Mustangs football Tteam.
Shawn Harnish, Dansville Mustang assistant football coach, said that the flag would fly for the game, and it would be played in Kyle’s memory. Once the game was over the flag was returned to the family, and will be used once again in a winter basketball game.
“The idea for this special event came from Jake Quibell. Kyle was his coach and teacher. He meant a lot to Jake and many others,” Harnish said. “I knew Kyle for about six years. He coached my children too.”
Chris Mapes, Dansville Mustang assistant football coach, was approached via email by Airman Quibell to do this for Homecoming. Mapes was very close to Kyle as well, and was happy to be part of the special ceremony.
Robert VanScooter, Dansville Central Athlete Coordinator, said that everyone loved Kyle Button, and no one will ever forget his smile.
Airman Quibell is a Class of 2013 Dansville Mustang who is serving in the US Air Force. He couldn’t be at the game, but he had his father present the flag to the family. This same flag also flew on a B1-B Bomber 41 on July 4 in honor of his favorite coach.
VanScooter said that Kyle played basketball, baseball, and football, so he coached all three once he was a teacher. Kyle coached JV Boys Basketball until the day he died.
“He played sports for me. I knew him as a player and a coach. He played baseball, basketball, and football. Once he got sick he stopped coaching baseball. He stayed with football and basketball,” VanScooter said. “This is the first time we had the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department out for this. They came to help present the flag to the Button family. Everyone loves and misses Kyle.”
VanScooter added that he hopes to have this flag hanging on the school walls at some point.
“He was an inspiration to Jake. He obviously had a great impact on him. Jake wanted to do this for his coach,” he said. “Kyle was a great young man. He played here, coached here, taught here, and was a true Mustang through and through.”
When Kyle knew he wouldn’t be around to watch Matthew grow up, he had a Build-A-Bear made with his voice recording to his boy. This precious item was meant to be a memory Matthew could hold onto forever, according to VanScooter.
“Kyle kept up with JV boys basketball and football even when he was sick. Whenever we asked him to help us he was there,” VanScooter said. “He would come to games and practice when he felt up to it. He was a fighter, and he showed the kids what it is like to never give up.”
Kyle lived and breathed sports and the thrill of the game. Kyle touched and changed the lives of many people with his ability to smile through the difficult times. He inspired many by the way in which he lived his short life with passion and the unwillingness to allow his situation to conquer his spirit.