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Olathe East community mourns loss of football coach

Coach Chris Burnett.jpg
Coach Cheese.jpg
Posted at 9:15 AM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 19:54:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Olathe East High School community is mourning the loss of a beloved football coach.

Coach Chris Burnett, known to most as "Coach Cheese," coached the running backs and had been with the school for five years, according to the school website.

"Back in pee-wee days, if they got a sack, they [the players] got a cheeseburger and that day he was so excited, that he got a sack so they started calling him cheeseburger and shortened [it] down to cheese," Nick Ash, head junior varsity football coach said.

Burnett was a graduate of Olathe North High School. He and his wife, Ashley, have three daughters and one son, two of which currently attend Olathe East.

According to the school website, Burnett was also working as a CBR para at the school and working toward becoming a teacher.

The coach passed away over the weekend.

Dr. Kaleb Stoppel, an assistant principal and the athletic director at Olathe East, shared news on Twitter.

"Nothing prepares you for this. OE and the entire Olathe community lost a great coach and even better man. Coach Burnett loved working with students and student-athletes a like. Amazing relationship builder with kids. Thank you for your impact and passion to love on others. RIP," he wrote.

Counselors will be on-hand this week for students and staff who may need their services. A full-team meeting is being held Monday morning for players.

Students were asked to wear red Monday in memory of Coach Cheese.

"A lot of the kids knew his favorite color was red and so a lot of traction starting coming of, hey this week at school, on Monday, let's show red for Coach Burnett," Stoppel said.

Burnett also worked with the Kansas City Glory, an all-female football team. The team has set up a GoFundMe to support his family.