CINCINNATI -- A long-time North College Hill teacher and coach died Thursday after an extended battle with cancer.
North College Hill City School District officials described Bruce Baarendse as a wonderful teacher and coach loved by all his students and the staff. The school, along with community members, raised money in July to help Baarendse fight a cancerous tumor in his bile duct.
"His commitment to students and ability to encourage and uplift others touched young people as well as adults," the school said in a release.
Baarendse grew up in North College Hill and graduated from North College Hill High School in 1978. In high school, he was an excellent athlete earning 11 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball, school officials said. He was inducted into the North College Hill High School Hall of Fame in 1986.
Baarendse attended the University of Cincinnati on a football scholarship and was a member of the Bearcat football team for four years. He earned his bachelor of science degree in physical education in 1982.
In 1983, Baarendse returned to his alma mater to teach. His entire 32-year teaching career was with North College Hill City School District.
He spent most of his time teaching health and physical education in grades 7-12, however, for several years he enjoyed teaching elementary students at Goodman School, school officials said.
Baarendse was fondly known as “Coach B” because of his commitment to the NCH athletic program.
"When you say Bruce Baarendse, he's North College Hill," teacher Gayle Clyburn said.
At one time or another Baarendse coached football, basketball, baseball, track and softball. In recent years he also served as co-athletic director. In 1986 he was named the head football coach, a position he held for 29 years. He had a record of 170-119 and in 2001 he was the first NCH football coach to lead his team into the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs. In total, he coached six NCH football teams into the playoffs.
Baarendse is survived by his wife Nancy, daughter Christine and son Steven. Visitation and funeral services have not yet been announced.
Julie O'Neil contributed to this report.