Bob Jones graduate, just hired as Shorter University coach, dies of COVID at 24

By William Thornton

Ryan Dupree

A Bob Jones High School graduate who had just been hired as an assistant basketball coach at Shorter University died of COVID-19 only a day after being diagnosed.

Ryan Dupree died Saturday at Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Ga., from COVID-related pneumonia. He was 24.

According to the Rome News-Tribune, Dupree recently was hired as a graduate assistant basketball coach at the university in Rome.

Shorter spokeswoman Dawn Tolbert said, “The Shorter University family was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Coach Ryan Dupree. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Our prayers are with them and the basketball team in this time of loss.”

According to social media posts from friends and family, Dupree died after only showing symptoms for one day. Pam Hailey, a family friend, said she was heartbroken.

“He was 24. Strong. Healthy. Played sports his entire life,” Hailey wrote on a social media post. “He played through college. He had just taken a job reaching his lifelong dream of being a college coach. Now he’s gone.”

GoFundMe page, set up to raise money for funeral expenses, said “COVID took over his body very quickly.”

“Thankfully his mom got to be with him in his last moments here on this earth,” a statement on the page reads. “We rejoice knowing that there is life after death for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus. We can not wrap our earthly minds around this, but rejoicing that we have hope even in darkness. Ryan is in heaven, and we will see him again.”

In 2015, Dupree started every game for Bob Jones and averaged 12 points, four rebounds and four assists per game. He later played for Snead State, Mississippi State and Belhaven, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State.