SOUTH JORDAN — To his students, Randy Treglown was much more than just a gym teacher or a basketball coach.
A mentor, a role model, a person who led by example is how the popular Elk Ridge Middle School physical education instructor was described Wednesday as students, teachers and a community mourned his death.
Treglown, 51, was jogging to work about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday — as he did every day — when he was hit and killed by a Ford F-150 truck while in a crosswalk along 4000 West near 9800 South.
South Jordan police were still investigating the accident Wednesday. Among other things, they were trying to determine whether Treglown or the 32-year-old driver of the truck had the right of way. The motorist told police he didn't see Treglown until he struck him.
South Jordan Police Lt. Rob Hansen described the driver — who stopped and immediately tried to administer aid after the accident — as being very cooperative with detectives, and also very shaken over what happened.
"We do believe the driver in that he never saw him," Hansen said. "The driver of the vehicle is not showing any signs of impairment. He lives in the area … is very cooperative and obviously feels terrible."
Police and witnesses said Treglown was wearing a dark green shirt and black pants when he was hit, and he was not wearing any reflective gear or a light, making him hard to see.
Word of the popular teacher's tragic accident spread rapidly, and the tributes started to be posted on social media pages almost immediately.
"I would like to take a moment to thank you for all you have done for me throughout your life, as a teacher, as a coach, as a co-worker and as a friend. I have always looked up to you my entire life," one boy wrote on his Facebook page in tribute to Treglown. "I guarantee you changed kids' lives because of your efforts to stop bullying. As a coach, you helped me become a better basketball player, but even more importantly, I wanted to become a basketball coach because of you."
"I spent many, many hours in the gym with Coach Treglown. He taught me so much about life and sports. He was truly a great man. I can say (he was) the most influential teacher I have ever had — period. Best coach I've ever had — period. He cared about his students and his players. I still talk about him to this day. He will never be forgotten," wrote former student Brady Haider. "He always got to school before anyone else to open the basketball gym so that students could play basketball before school. He knew all his students' names, and even the kids who did not particularly like P.E., they liked going to P.E. because of Coach Treglown."
Haider still has one of Treglown's quotes written down as inspiration: "The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital."
Elk Ridge Principal Larry Urry said Treglown wouldn't ask his students to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself. If he asked his students to run in class, he ran along with them, added Jordan School District spokeswoman Sandy Riesgraf.
"He was a highly respected, well-loved guy who went above and beyond in everything he did," Riesgraf said.
The school is located nearby at 3659 W. 9800 South. Treglown was in the middle of his 17th year at Elk Ridge and had been with the district for 29 years, Riesgraf said.
"He was very committed, a very good guy," Urry said. "He was just a person you knew you could trust all the time. He was always straight and honest with you, and was always very caring about everyone and tried to help everyone do their best. He was a great defender of people."
Some students who were arriving at school early for seminary class witnessed the accident, Riesgraf said. Grief counselors were at the school Wednesday for any student, parent or faculty member who needed to talk to them.
Teachers were informed of the accident before school started.
"They didn't just get tears in their eyes. Some of them broke down," Urry said. "The day's been a little more subdued, but we're trying to keep them in their regular routines. We have grief counselors here talking to kids, teachers and parents that need it. We're doing OK."
Some students said their buses dropped them off at school from a different entrance Wednesday morning so they wouldn't see the accident. After first period, the principal got on the intercom to officially announce to the students what had happened.
"They just like, stopped breathing. It was like complete silence throughout the whole school," said one student.
By the afternoon, a makeshift memorial with signs and posters was established on the corner near where the accident happened. Many of Treglown's present and past students stopped by to share memories of their favorite teacher.
"He was an amazing teacher, very patient and kind to his students," one former student wrote on a comment board. "If you ever saw him outside of school or even outside of class at the school, he would go out of his way to say hello and (ask) how your day was going. When I left middle school and went to Bingham, I was on the swim team with his son. It was amazing how he was at every single meet supporting not just his son but the whole team!"
"Randy was my friend. I was his assistant basketball coach for a number of years while I taught at Elk Ridge. He was a great mentor to me. I am so sorry to hear of his death. He gave so much to the students and community of South Jordan," added Patrick Trent.
Many former basketball players who were coached by Treglown mourned him Wednesday.
"Coach Treglown molded me into a better person and taught me the fundamentals of the game that I am using to this day and will teach my own son as he grows. Coach Treglown has had a large impact on my life that I am so very thankful for," wrote "Nate."
"I played for Coach Treglown in 2001 and 2002. He was an extremely old-school, classy guy who taught me the game of basketball perfectly during practice and would stay after practice to shoot around and talk about all of life's difficulty and concerns. It was no surprise that Coach came to my wedding a couple years ago and gave a sincere smile and congratulations," wrote Chad Vigil.
Others talked about how Treglown would help shovel snow from neighbors' driveways in the winter, and another about how few people knew about his painting talents.
Other teachers covered Treglown's classes Wednesday. But Urry said there was no way to replace him. Treglown had been at the school since it opened.
"We'll never replace him and replace who he is. That's something that's going to be hard," Urry said. "He was just a neat, neat man who worked so hard to do a good job for the kids and a man you could always trust."
Wednesday's tragedy was the second in two weeks for the school. John Sheriff, 72, a longtime custodian and good friend of many of the faculty members, suffered a heart attack and died Nov. 17. He was retired but continued to go to the school to work a couple of hours each day.
On that day, Urry said Sheriff wasn't feeling well and decided to go home early. He was found a short time later slumped over the steering wheel of his car in the parking lot.
"He was just a wonderful, wonderful person," Urry said.