ALLEN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – On Sunday, August 22, new Allen High School Football Coach James Shillam passed away from COVID-19 after spending two-and-a-half weeks in the hospital.

Shillam had been a football coach for 26 years.

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He caught COVID-19 in early August, and had just recently been hired to work for Allen ISD.

And though his time was cut short, his wife Kyp Shillam said coaching for Allen ISD was a lifelong dream of his.

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“This was his promised land, this was his dream. Allen was his dream, he always wanted to coach here,” she said. “It meant the world to us, and to him. And a lot of people may say he stopped short of getting his dream, but he did not. He got to walk in his promised land.”

James Shillam

Paul Ressa, a friend and current coach at Denton Ryan High Schoo, said being a coach was something James Shillam was born to do.

“He was a rock, he was exactly what you would want as a coach, as a teacher, as a friend, and mentor in this profession,” Ressa said.

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Allen ISD released a statement saying, “Allen ISD is heart broken to learn of the passing of James Shillam, and our deepest sympathy goes out to the Shillam family. Coach Shillam joined Allen ISD late this summer, and we are mournful we did not have the opportunity to witness the positive impact that he would’ve left on our students and our school district.”

Nicole Nielsen