West Platte High School head football and wrestling coach Nathan A. Danneman died Wednesday evening when a tractor-trailer crossed the median of Interstate 29 and struck three vehicles north of Platte City.
“Last night, the West Platte family lost a dear member. Nathan Danneman will always be known as a positive and hard-working role model for our kids and staff. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to Coach Danneman’s family during this time of grief,” the district announced on Facebook and Twitter Thursday morning.
The 37-year-old coach from Camden Point, Mo., was killed in the 6:45 p.m. crash. Three others, including a 3-year-old girl in Danneman’s car, suffered minor injuries.
The semi was headed north on I-29 when it crossed the median near the exit to Camden Point. The semi then struck the 2014 Ford Focus Danneman was driving south on I-29. The semi also struck a 2017 Ford F-150 and a 2015 Chevrolet Cruze.
Danneman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The West Platte School District hired Danneman as head football coach and assistant wrestling coach in 2013. He also served as a physical education and strength conditioning teacher for the district.
Robbie Shepherd, his former principal at Drexel, Mo., where Danneman served as head football coach for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, said he lured Danneman to take the job.
“He was just smart about the game, and he was well-loved by everybody. It was the perfect combination,” Shepherd said. “We always laughed. I used to joke with him because he was a short guy. But he was bigger than life.”
West Platte was 20-28 in Danneman’s four-year tenure and finished 1-9 last season.
Some of his current and former players and students took to Twitter to commemorate his life.
“I can only wish I grow up to be the kind of man Danneman was,” Cameron Johnson posted. “Rest in (peace), Coach.”
“This town lost an incredible man tonight, and he will not be forgotten,” Clay Lambrecht wrote. “Prayers out to his family. All we can do is remember the good times and be thankful for what we have.”
Danneman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo., where he played for the Viking Football team. He was named the MVP defensive player in 2000 and served as team captain for the Vikings. He also played with Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Conference Honors.
While pursuing a master of science degree in educational leadership, Danneman coached at Marshall High School, where he helped lead the team to a quater-final appearance in football, a Top10 finish in wrestling and served as a throws coach for the track team.
In 2003, Danneman became the defensive coordinator for the Richmond, Mo., High School Spartans, where he spent six years coaching football, wrestling and track.
While at Richmond, he helped lead the Spartans to two district titles, two conference championships, two quarter-final appearances and a semi-final apperance.
He was chosen as the defensive coach for the Missouri East/West Lion’s All-star Game in 2004. Three years later, he was chosen to help coach the MO-KAN All-Star Game.
Prior to joining West Platte, Danneman coached at Drexel (Mo.) High School. He posted a 17-4 record and won the WEMO Conference Championship both years.
Danneman is the second head football coach from the Kansas City metro area to die this year. In February, Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell died after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm.
As news of Danneman’s death, people took to social media to express their grief and condlences to his family.