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The county's recreation sports community recently lost two dedicatedcoaches to sudden tragedy.

Sam Knight, coach of the Westminster Vultures under-10 indoor soccer team at Four Season's, collapsed during practice Jan. 20 and died at the age of 48.

On Feb. 1, 39-year-old John Oyan of Reisterstown died in an automobile accident. He coached basketball in the North Carroll RecreationCouncil's intramural program.

Knight first became involved in soccer when his two sons -- W. C., 14, and Dean, 10 -- began playing thesport.

He did much more for the sport of soccer than coaching.

"Sam was a real dedicated individual with the kids; he put forth a whole lot of effort to raise money to provide opportunities for the them," said David Johnson, commissioner of the Westminster Soccer Association.

"It was his first year, but it didn't take him long to getinvolved."

Active in raising money to help support the Westminster program, Knight also aided the Baltimore Blast in promoting professional soccer in Westminster.

"This man loved soccer immensely," said Blast account executive Walter Bowling.

Bowling first got to know Knight after arranging to have the Vultures play in a tournament at the Baltimore Arena.

They also worked closely in helping promotethe Blast in Westminster -- including a card show with Blast playerssigning autographs.

The Blast dedicated their Feb. 8 game to Knight.

Before the game, Blast players met and took photos with members of the Vultures. Dean Knight was a Blast ball boy for the game, anda moment of silence took place honoring Sam Knight.

"We became very close friends in a two-month period," Bowling said.

"We (Blast organization) decided it would be a good thing to pay tribute to him;something soccer had to do for him."

W. C.'s under-14 season at Four Season's starts today -- his

team's name will be the Westminster Knights.

Oyan coached seven years in Reisterstown before comingto the North Carroll program.

The North Carroll council plans to dedicate its postseason basketball tournament in Oyan's honor. It also will sponsor a dance with some proceeds going to his family.

"Hewas a really nice man," said North Carroll rec basketball coordinator Jeff Bradford.

"I wish I had a chance to get to know him better.He always said 'hi' and always was smiling. I talked with the kids he coached, and they all enjoyed being around him and having him as coach."

Oyan coached his son, Jeff, 14, and didn't miss any soccer games his daughter, Margaux, 11, played in.

"He loved it (coaching)," said his wife, Nancy.

"Ever since we've had children, he's beeninvolved with their activities. A great father and a wonderful husband -- the best."

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