Jim McCandless, the very successful Severna Park High baseball coach, died Tuesday. The state’s medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. McCandless was 43.
“The Severna Park community is in shock,” Severna Park Athletic Director Wayne Mook said. “We lost a tremendous individual, a role model for the kids. He’s somebody you want all your kids to grow up to be like. We’re just trying to cope right now.”
McCandless, a 1986 Severna Park graduate, coached the Falcons’ baseball team for 12 years, winning five regional titles and three state titles; Severna Park lost in the Maryland 4A championship game last year. He also was executive director of the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association, better known as the Green Hornets.
According to an Anne Arundel County police spokesman, at 5:42 p.m. Tuesday officers responded to a call for a well-being check at the Green Hornets’ office in Severna Park, where they located a 43-year-old male inside a maintenance room. The man, whom police would not identify by name, was pronounced dead on the scene and there were no signs of foul play or anything suspicious, the police spokesman said. The state’s medical examiner’s office ruled the cause of death was asphyxia.
“I was devastated, I had just talked to him Monday and he was fine,” said Charlie Becker, who coached with McCandless for 24 years in youth leagues, American Legion and at the high school. “We were planning for the high school season, ordering hats and making sure we were up to date for our care and prevention courses.”
Becker and the Falcons’ other assistant coaches gathered with their team Wednesday afternoon at the school’s baseball field.
“You’ve got to grieve,” Becker said. “If you don’t grieve, you’re not going to get through it. It is what it is. We’ll get through it and we’ll play baseball this spring because that’s what Jim would want us to do. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
McCandless is survived by his wife, Meredith; three daughters, Claudia, Sarah and Georgia; his parents, James and Paula; and two brothers, Jeff and Rob.
Becker said that a trust fund will be set up to benefit McCandless’s daughters.
A viewing will be held Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.at Barranco and Sons, P.A. Severna Park Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Monday at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Severna Park.