Summerville High School dedicates gym to Coach Louis Mulkey
SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Summerville High School held a dedication ceremony on Tuesday to honor former basketball coach and firefighter coach Louis Mulkey.
Mulkey was one of the nine firefighters killed in the 2007 Sofa Super Store Fire in Charleston. The dedication was also a way to honor them all.
Tuesday was Summerville's first home basketball game and the school invited former players, friends and family of Mulkey to attend.
People say Mulkey was the coach and firefighter that went above and beyond when it came to serving those around him.
Athletic Director at Summerville High School, Brion Rutherford, says it's an honor for him to honor Mulkey. Rutherford says he was a senior when he met Mulkey.
"He was coaching church league basketball at Summerville Baptist Church," Rutherford said. "He was dressed like Pat Riley. He had a shirt and tie on, slacks, and he was up coaching like he was coaching for an NBA World Championship. That's how Louis was, he was a larger than life figure."
Rutherford says students loved Mulkey and he loved them back.
"He was always here, was always available," Rutherford said. "They needed him on the weekends, he was there on the weekends."
It's been more than 9 years since Mulkey and eight other firefighters lost their lives in the Sofa Super Store Fire, but his legacy lives on.
The Summerville High School Gym is now named "The Fire House."
"We thought it was an appropriate way to name the gym in his memory and at the same time try to cause us to continue to teach the lessons that he brought to the student athletes when he was a coach," Rutherford said.
Lessons like "do the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons" a message on the gym wall that Mulkey shared with his players.
"I don't know how he found time to be a firefighter, I know he was a great firefighter because when he wasn't there at the fire station he was here at the school," he said. "He could get 36 hours worth of work in a 24-hour day."
His dedication to his players, to his co-workers and to the community will not be forgotten.
"This guy is willing to give everything he's got for our kids," Rutherford said. "It would make you question yourself, why, why am I not doing this. It would make other people around him want to give more and that overall effort contributed to a great benefit for our kids here."
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