Hundreds remember longtime swim coach Mike Haney at Mesa High School

The community came together and celebrated the life of legendary Mesa High School swim coach Mike Haney.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 9:30 PM MST
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MESA (3TV/CBS 5) - It was an emotional night at Mesa High School on Wednesday, as hundreds showed up to pay their respects for Mike Haney, the school’s longtime swim coach who sadly died nearly two weeks ago. Haney also was an AP History teacher, a lifeguard, and a mentor for so many. “Simply put, my dad was the best,” Mike’s son Jacob said.

Jacob always knew how much his dad loved him. But seeing that many people file into the Mesa High School Auditorium made him realize just how many people loved his dad, who was the swim coach at Mesa High for 22 years and won Coach of the Year three years in a row. “I’m honestly in shock at how impactful this has been,” Jacob said. “And what an impact he had on this world.”

One by one, family and friends took the stage, sharing memories of the 54-year-old father of two, who they say always seemed to put others first. “My son had him as a teacher,” friend and fellow Mesa teacher Robert Macias said. “And he said ‘Dad, Mr. Haney is a much better teacher than you!’”

“He was always trying to figure out new ways in the classroom to try and engage the kids,” Mike’s wife Michelle added. “And the same thing out at the pool. He wanted them to succeed. So it wasn’t just about swimming laps at swim team, it was about goal-setting.”

Michelle says Mike is probably feeling a little uncomfortable about a celebration like Wednesday’s with the spotlight on him. But she also thinks he’d be proud about so many showing up. “I’d like to think there’s a small part of him that recognizes and is here with us thinking, ‘Wow!’” she said.

As for Jacob, he has this message for his dad. “Thank you for being my father. It was amazing,” he said. “And I wish I could hug you right now.” A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Haney family with costs.

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