“Will McKamey was everything you aspire for a young man to be,” noted Matt Mercer, the campus pastor and a coach at Grace Christian Academy. Stated former teammate Devin Smith: “He was a great ball player, but an even better person.”

By Steve Williams

Will McKamey touched the lives of people far and wide, old and young, those who knew him and even some who didn’t.

The McKamey family is hoping Will’s way of life will continue to inspire others and they are honoring his legacy by helping others with the Live Like Will Foundation.

McKamey, a TSSAA Mr. Football Award winner at Grace Christian Academy in 2012, died March 25 from complications stemming from a head injury he suffered after collapsing March 22 during spring practice at Navy, where he was a freshman cadet and slotback on the Midshipmen’s football team.

“Will was everything you aspire for a young man to be,” noted Matt Mercer, the campus pastor and a coach at Grace Christian Academy. “He was intelligent, athletic, respectful, honorable and had great integrity. I have nothing but respect and gratitude for who he was and the life he lived.

“He is going to be dearly missed. May we never forget the legacy and impact this young man Will McKamey has made on a family, school, city and country!”

Devin Smith, GCA quarterback and University of Tennessee preferred walk-on, stated “Will and me were pretty close. We would go to college camps together.

“He was a great ball player, but an even better person. He would always ask how everyone was doing and make sure he put others before himself. He had very strong faith and put Christ before everything. He was an overall great kid and a role model for all of the younger kids.”

At Grace, where his father, Randy McKamey, is head football coach, Will was the Division 1 Class A Back of the Year in 2012, a two-time All-Stater and the Rams’ team captain two years. He totaled 4,419 career all-purpose yards.

Will also was senior class president and named GCA’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2012-13. He had a 4.3 GPA and made 31 on the ACT before signing with the U.S. Naval Academy.

McKamey had suffered a season-ending head injury in football his senior year at Grace. His mother, Kara, posted on Facebook her son saw many specialists and underwent many tests before being cleared to play again.

In lieu of flowers, the McKamey family is asking donations be made to the Live Like Will Foundation, which will support people with cerebral palsy. Checks can be sent to Grace Baptist Church, 7171 Oak Ridge Highway, Knoxville, Tn., 37931. (Please write Live Like Will in the memo).

In a statement from the family, the McKameys said they “are overcome with the way everyone has rallied behind the #LIVELIKEWILL movement. Will was able to change the spirit of a community, a school, and several teams, without saying a word. His life was an inspiration to so many and we are thankful for the 19 years we had with him.”

Friends, families and even strangers have paid tribute to the young man on twitter.

Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo and two buses full of classmates and teammates attended Will’s funeral service on March 31. Army’s football team also was represented at the service.