People celebrate Mid-Michigan coach's life at funeral today - WNEM TV 5

People celebrate Mid-Michigan coach's life at funeral today

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

A funeral was held Wednesday morning for a Mid-Michigan coach who preached leaving it all on the field because as time runs out, there are no do-overs.

The same can be said about life.

"Last thing he said, every day's a gift,' that's the last thing he always said to us," T.J Schepperly said, who is a current Northwood University Football player.

Northwood football coach Pat Riepma lived to those words and passed that message to countless student-athletes and others who would listen.

"He really, just, he practiced what he preached," Tommy Jacobs said.

On Tuesday night, just like a Saturday in the fall, people lined up to see Northwood's football coach with the most wins.

But this time, they waited to say their final goodbyes.

"You know, I think a lot of people who are in line over here to see him, they'd tell you that he was just about one of the best people they've ever met," Greg Longe said.

Hundreds, if not thousands, waited to enter the visitation. Riepma, who battled cancer twice, died a week ago. He was 54 years old.

"I'd wait for hours just to see the Riepma family and say goodbye," Jacobs said.

"He was more than just a coach, he was more of a father figure to all of us," Schepperly said.

Those who knew coach know his model was to "go mad," which stood for go make a difference. He wanted all of his guys to be better people, something he preached, and something Coach R left on the field.

"He was an amazing guy," Longe said.

Riepma will return to Hantz Stadium on Northwood's campus one more time on Wednesday morning for his final goodbye.

Services for his funeral are set for 11 a.m.

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