Woodland High School varsity baseball head coach Felix Castillo died of a suspected heart attack Monday while playing softball, according to the school principal.
Castillo, 48, a 1986 Woodland High School graduate, was playing in a Woodland recreational league when stricken. One of those who reacted with shock and sadness on Tuesday was former Woodland High standout and Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Castillo was in Oakland on Friday to watch Pedroia play in a game against the A’s.
“We are all in shock,” Pedroia said. “I just saw him and talked to him after Friday’s game. You won’t find a more genuine person than Felix. He has helped so many people in a ton of ways. We are going to miss him so much.”
Woodland High School Principal Karrie Sequeira said that coaches depended on Castillo and the student body looked up to him.
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“Our other coaches would go to him for advice,” Sequeira said. “He had a great connection with the students. He was humble, had great integrity and was so genuine. Very special.”
Castillo was also a social studies and physical education teacher at the high school. Javi Valdivia, former Woodland head coach and longtime friend of Castillo, called the news of his former assistant coach extremely sad.
“We’ll miss him," Valdivia said.
Baseball hats, a Woodland Wolves T-shirt, flowers and other items of remembrance were left by students in the school parking lot at Castillo’s parking space. Grief counselors were at the school on Tuesday for staff and students.
Franklin High School coach Brian Kilby, who coached against Castillo, lauded his late friend. Kilby called Castillo a role model for the youths of Woodland and a man who loved coaching.
“I talked to him on Friday,” Kilby said. “He was excited to see Dustin Pedroia play the A’s. Felix went to the game, sat in the front row behind home plate. We exchanged text messages, he was so excited. It’s a big loss.”