Coach Bo Hobbs sudden death shocks family

RICHMOND, Va. -- Andrew "Bo" Hobbs died unexpectedly Monday morning.  Hobbs, 57, was known around the community as a longtime girls' basketball coach at Richmond's Thomas Jefferson High School.

Hobbs, according to family members, was a mentor to many young men and women in the community.

"His reach was so vast and so strong that although he may not be here, his spirit still lives on," Coach Bo's niece Jerlicia Hobbs said.

She said her uncle constantly encouraged young people to not only stay in school, but also perform in the classroom. In fact, he established a student scholarship at Thomas Jefferson in honor of his parents.

Hobbs' death on Interstate 95 was being investigated as a suicide, according to Virginia State Police.

A fact that left long time friend and former Thomas Jefferson co-worker Lisa Johnson baffled.

Johnson said Hobbs seemed like one of the happiest adults she knew.

"He was always happy, or what appeared to be happy, always supportive," she recalled. "He was a coach, he was a friend. He was supportive to students everywhere. He was big at the Boys and Girls Club."

Johnson, who last saw Hobbs in August, said there were no words to describe the loss.

"How do you miss this?" she asked rhetoricall, about potential signs of suicidal thoughts. "I am learning to try and be present to people when in their company -- not just physically -- but emotionally and mentally as well."

Niece Jerlicia echoed those sentiments.

"I know there are so many questions about why? Why did he do it? How could we have prevented it? Could we see it coming?"

She said she has found comfort in knowing her Uncle Bo loved the Lord and that his death could help others.

"[People should know] you're never alone. There is a community of people that we can all just lean on," she said. "Don't be afraid to reach out. Don't mask your pain. It's okay to have a bad day."

A memorial service is planned for Saturday at St. Paul's church. Plans are in the works to memorialize Coach Bo at Thomas Jefferson High School.