Apex High School Remembers Beloved Soccer Coach

The soccer field at Apex High School was where coach Kevin Todd inspired his players. “He was all about the kids, and that was truly all he cared about," Apex athletic director Scott Ferguson says.

Though many will remember Kevin Todd as an accomplished soccer coach, that’s not why Apex loved him.

It was on the soccer field where generations of families got to know Todd, whose name became synonymous with the Apex High School soccer programs. The longtime AP Psychology teacher and head coach roamed the Cougar sidelines for 30 years with a laidback disposition and an ageless thin mustache, as his program blossomed into sustained success.

Under Todd’s tenure, Apex captured a pair of state championships in the early 2000s and sent countless boys and girls soccer players to the college ranks. But it was Todd’s kindness and devotion to making others feel special that has resonated with the community since his sudden death in September.

“What he’s accomplished was incredible,” said Scott Ferguson, Apex High athletic director. “The part people will remember about him is his spirit of having fun, laughing and always going beyond the ordinary to do special things for people all the time.”

Todd grew up in Williamsport, Pa., but it wasn’t until he began playing intramurals at Indiana University that he became obsessed with soccer. He moved to North Carolina to attend graduate school at N.C. State, and began his coaching career at North Garner Junior High in the fall of 1984.

Even as a self-taught coach, Todd shied away from the credit for his successes. After games, he often snuck out of the stadium to his car while players took interviews with sports writers to avoid taking any attention from the team.

“He was proudest about the accomplishments of other people,” said his older sister, Janice Todd. “He would never tell you about himself, ever. There was no spotlight he wanted to shine on him.”

Instead, Todd thrived behind the scenes. He lived by a rule not to take himself too seriously and sent players encouraging early-morning emails on game days. He physically took part in practice drills and leapt with excitement after every goal his team scored. When COVID cut the last spring season short, Todd cried with his team. He always gushed over his players with pride as if they were his own and they, in turn, loved him back.

“We will always remember him as the most lovable man, and there was nothing that you could dislike about him,” said Logan Styers, a senior girls soccer player. “He demonstrated so much strength for others, and loved everybody so much more than he loved himself.”

Logan Styers and other members of the girls soccer team signed a ball in Kevin Todd’s memory. His coaching jacket and photos from past seasons are also displayed in a case at Apex High.

In his personal life, Todd was famous for surprising his family. Once, he drove home to Pennsylvania in the middle of the week and surprised his sister on a milestone birthday.

“When I came home from school, our front yard had a big 4-0 sign about 4 feet high,” Janice Todd recalled. “There were pictures of me and balloons all the way up the sidewalk to my house. When I went in, he was hysterically laughing.”

Scott Ferguson, top, Apex High School athletic director, opens a display case at the school containing trophies from championship soccer teams and other mementos from Kevin Todd’s 30 years of coaching.

Apex High School has been working hard to honor his legacy.

In recognition of the 61-year-old’s love for fitness, the school has started holding KT Wellness Wednesdays each week encouraging people to stay in shape.

The senior rock at Apex High was painted to honor Todd.

On those days, teachers and staff in the school wear T-shirts bearing Todd’s silhouette celebrating after a big overtime playoff win. Though not seen in the drawing, it recalls the ever-present grin that was surely on his face that night, a smile that often brightened his colleagues’ days.

“It would never fail to go into his room and he’d have a smile, and you would leave smiling,” said Adam Oltmans, who taught beside Todd for 15 years. “I think that’s what people are feeling is this void of always positive energy.”

Elaine Hofmann, principal at Apex High School, models the T-shirt that teachers and staff wear on KT Wellness Wednesdays.

For his dedication to his players, the Apex Cougar Club is establishing the Coach Todd Legacy Fund, which will be awarded to one male and one female student-athlete pursuing higher education each year who exemplifies Todd’s leadership, integrity and concern for others.

The school is also exploring the option of naming the soccer field after him. No matter what, the Apex community hopes to honor the spirit of how Todd lived. The beloved coach often quoted an adage that guided his life and sums up the impact he had on the community who loved him.

“Live with passion,” Todd would say. “It’s not how long we live, but how we live.”

Donations to the Coach Todd Legacy Fund are payable by check to the Apex Cougar Club at P.O Box 356 Apex or on GoFundMe at charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/coachtoddlegacy.

1 Comment

  • Janice Todd says:

    Thank you for this well-written tribute to my brother, Kevin! He lived a life we are all proud to say we loved and made every moment count! #livewithpassion

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