Mike Whittles, football coach who led Archbishop Spalding High School to four MIAA state titles, died Thursday, the school announced.
A well-respected figure in Anne Arundel County athletics, Whittles led the Cavaliers to a playoff berth in the team's first year in the MIAA "A" Conference. He had previously won four titles in Conference B, including a perfect season in 2006.
Whittles, 58, had been fighting a battle with pancreatic cancer since early 2011.
He is survived by his wife, Diane, and three children.
Whittles was a resident of Severna Park and the owner of the local SERVPRO damage restoration company.
In January, the school inducted Whittles into its Hall of Fame, waiving a usual five-year waiting period for induction.
“Mike’s legacy is not going to be about football, it’s going to be the message he put out while battling this awful disease," Spalding athletic director Lee Dove told Varsity Sports Network. "His mantra was ‘make every day count’ and he qualified it by living it every day. He constantly reminded the kids that everything could change in an instant and wanted them to take nothing for granted.”
There was an outpouring of positive sentiments about Whittles on social media sites from friends, rivals and former players.
"Everything we do for football is dedicated to Coach Whittles," said Spalding wide receiver Ronnie Beswick on his Twitter feed. "Everything we do is for you, and we will make everyday count.
In an interview with the Baltimore Sun after his hall of fame induction, Whittles said he always felt fortunate to be coaching at Spalding.
"I feel like I’ve got the best job in the world, being a high school football coach and there couldn’t be a better place to be one than at Archbishop Spalding," he siad. "The support I’ve gotten there from the administration, the kids, the alumni, the whole community, it’s been overwhelming and very humbling.”
Funeral arrangements for Whittles have not been announced.