Brian Conners, who combined his love of sports with coaching and teaching children, was remembered Wednesday as a young man who “impacted lives” in the best way possible.
Conners, 25, of Centerport, died of injuries suffered in a snowboarding accident Saturday in the Catskills, his family said.
“His true love was . . . football, but even above that was really working with kids or young adults,” said his father, Michael Conners. “He just truly loved life and played it to the fullest — and never forgot to be a good person.”
Several Facebook posts expressing grief and admiration saluted Conners’ integrity.
One family jest revolved around Conners’ uncommon gift for friendship, which also led him to volunteer and help organize charitable fundraisers.
“We always said that ‘Everybody’s family would try to steal Brian,’ just kidding around, because so many people loved Brian,” his father said. “As soon as he could walk he started running — he just didn’t stop.”
Conners planned to start teaching this autumn; he had almost finished earning his master’s degree in mathematics education at Touro College.
Vacationing with one of the many families he befriended at the Bellayre Mountain Ski Resort, he was snowboarding on the Wanatuska Trail, an expert track, on Saturday morning when the accident occurred. The State Police, who investigated, had no immediate comment.
In his last two years at Harborfields High School, Conners played varsity football, where his natural athleticism allowed to him to shine at both offense and defense.
Football was far from the only sport or activity he threw himself into.
“He was full of life, and he golfed, he played hockey and played basketball, he surfed, and played flag football — even Wiffle ball,” his father said.
During summers, he worked as a lifeguard at the Dix Hills Park swimming pool, where he became a supervisor. Conners graduated from St. Joseph’s College in 2014, with a bachelor’s in math and computers.
The hours he put in coaching football at Harborfields and Smithtown High School East won him countless friends.
In one of many Facebook posts mourning Conners, family friend Michael Ryan, of Centerport, wrote: “I knew that my daughter was always safe from any harm whenever she was with him. He was an ‘old soul’ who also had a heart of gold.”
“I am 58 years old, yet one of the people I respected most, admired most and looked up to in this world” was Conners, he added.
Brian Conners also is survived by his mother, Jackie; and brother, Christopher; and grandparents Annette and Ed McGrath, of Westbury.
Visitation will be held Friday at M.A. Connell Funeral Home in Huntington Station from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be offered Saturday at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport; burial will be at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Huntington.