Aleshia Armor was the kind of person others were proud to know or jealous of missing, and she’ll be the reason Saturday’s University of Northern Colorado game means a little more.
The UNC will pay tribute to Aleshia, former principal of Overland High School in Aurora and wife of assistant coach Mike Armor, during the game. She died suddenly at 42 earlier this year.
Aleshia met Mike a few days after arriving in Colorado – he was on a recruiting trip to Denver, his obituary says – and quickly became a key member of the program, even before the two got married.
For 10 years, she has been the go-to UNC football for educational advice, letters of recommendation, job interview tips, home cooked meals, motherly hugs and kindness to everyone. world. That’s not to say that the other partners in the program weren’t appreciated, she was just different. Aleshia seemed to be able to connect with anyone and break down barriers, plus she was in every game.
This is why it is so important that the university honor him publicly.
“There are sad times after games for sure when she’s not around to greet us, but we will remember her this weekend,” said the UNC coach, Ed McCaffrey. “She will always be remembered and will always be part of our family.”
“I owe that”
Aleshia began her teaching career in 2003 at Liberty Middle School in Aurora, as a language arts teacher, before moving to higher leadership positions at other schools in Colorado.
Second-year defensive lineman David Hoage, Big Sky’s leader in loss tackles, said he was at UNC because of her. Hoage and first-year linebacker Vincent King attended Smoky Hill High School during his tenure as Deputy Principal.
âThese two guys are, by far, his favorite football players on this team,â Mike said with a laugh.
Aleshia encouraged UNC staff to recruit players and was a key figure in their high school education. They often came to his office for advice on decisions or just to get a little support.
She has often served as the second mother, or even the primary mother figure, for many students and staff in the Cherry Creek School District, including Hoage and King.
“It will be a very emotional game for me,” said Hoage. “I feel like the least I can do for her – I owe her a lot – is play with all my heart, especially for this game.”
This openness, accessibility and genuine care comes from a desire to create fairness in the world and to ensure that people are not left behind or neglected.
To her, it didn’t matter what they looked like, who they loved, how much money they had, or what religion they practiced.
This is one of the many things Mike loved.
The teacher for nearly two decades has truly embodied her convictions. She wanted everyone to be taken care of; students, its staff, other people in the neighborhood. His love for others was second to none.
This is why she has earned the respect of those around her and why guests, including some former UNC football students, come from all over the country to watch a football game. It’s for Aleshia. She’s done so much for them, whether she knows it or not, then they can do it for her.
âI know she’s looking down and smiling, saying, ‘Hey, those are my boys over there,’â Mike said. âIt’s impressive to see how much of an impact she has impacted not only on our team, our coaches, our former coaches, our former players, administrators and even (the members) of the Greeley Schools. It makes me smile. “
“It’s real, very serious”
Aleshia died on February 28 in Colorado Springs during what was supposed to be a day of relaxation with Brooke Gregory, his longtime mentor and educator, whose son also played for UNC about seven years ago.
As anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows, her death changed life as the family knew it. Initially, the medical staff thought it was a seizure but was ultimately found to be a brain aneurysm.
âWhen I walked into the emergency room they sent me straight to what I mean was the consulting room,â Mike said. “I was like, ‘Well that’s right, really serious that they are sending me in this.’ Then I was told the news and that’s when the reality she conveyed hit me.
She had never had health complications like this before, but in an instant, the mother, daughter and the tender-hearted woman were gone.
Mike’s main recruiting area was near Colorado Springs, so he had traveled frequently to Greeley. This trip was much more difficult.
âThe hardest thing for me was to warn our parents and kids,â he said, heartbreaking at the memory. âThis was the longest drive from Colorado Springs that has ever been because I’m on the phone with people trying to warn (the family).â
“These 10 years have been a lifetime”
It will be six months and two days since Aleshia died when she is recognized. The loss is still deeply felt, but her legacy lives on through her husband, children, former students and friends.
âCoach Armor is one of the greatest, brightest men you’ll ever want to meet,â said McCaffrey. “We are heartbroken for him, his children and his family, but he has shown an incredible determination to continue to coach, to continue to be part of our UNC family and to keep Aleshia’s memory alive.”
The family threw a party on Sunday, the day before his 43rd birthday. We still miss her and always will be, but it was nice to have loved ones around her to remember her. They shared happy memories and the event was like the house parties Aleshia and Mike had. It was kind of healing to have cars lined up on the street in a true celebration of your life and the impact it remains to have.
In addition, a new scholarship fund has been established in his name to help students continue their education. This year, he is giving $ 5,000 to students in need. How fitting that his memory is attached to something that will help others to learn and grow.
Now, with the help of UNC football, everything Aleshia stood for will be shared and hopefully help even more people. That’s really all she wanted.
âAleshia and I have only known each other for 10 years, but those 10 years have been a lifetime for me,â said Mike. “She impacted a lot of people not only in this great nation but around the world, and it was a humbling experience.”
People who wish to support the family are encouraged to donate to its scholarship fund. It is dedicated to continuing the work she did during her lifetime. More information about her and the legacy fund can be found at aleshiaarmour.org.