LINDSIDE, WV (WVNS) — The James Monroe Mavericks took the field Tuesday, September 21, 2021, but they did so with heavy hearts.

Popular Monroe County coach and James Monroe alumnus, Ben Thornton, passed away over the weekend from complications with COVID-19. The Mavericks and their fans took time on Tuesday to remember Thornton and other people in the community who died from the virus. They held a moment of silence and the team carried Thornton’s former jersey number onto the field during the coin toss.

59News spoke with Bob Honaker, a friend of Thornton’s. He said everyone who knew Ben, loved him.

“He was truly a once in a lifetime type of person that you’d meet. His loss will be great because of the help with coaching kids, just his family and just being Ben in general. Everyone loved Ben Thornton,” Honaker said.

Thornton wore the number 20 when he played for James Monroe. He was also known throughout the community as a musician.