The Genuine All-Star
His family, friends and fans remember University of Illinois Hall of Fame volleyball coach Donald “Don” August as someone who always strived to do the right thing.
In college, Don played football for the University of Illinois Chicago. He returned to his alma mater to lead the volleyball program between 1981 and 2003. Under his leadership, the UIC Flames had 421 victories and won the Division I competition. Don was inducted into the UIC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013 alongside many of his student athletes.
Later, Don coached varsity volleyball at Oak Park and River Forest High School and became a middle school physical education teacher. Known for working hard and having fun while he did, he was a favorite among his colleagues and a mentor to his students. He was named Illinois Boys’ Volleyball Coach of the Year, and the Oak Park and River Forest High School gym was dedicated in his honor.
Don and his wife raised two daughters and enjoyed traveling and hosting friends at their home near Chicago. His daughter Rachel recalls that when she was growing up, her dad read an article that moved him. The key takeaway was to “never miss an opportunity to be kind.” It became the family motto and a legacy which Don’s daughters have carried on in their own lives. “My dad was a genuine, classic guy,” Rachel says. “He always did the right thing and was always willing to help others.”
Don unexpectedly passed away in 2020. His family was not surprised to find out that he had joined the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when he renewed his driver’s license. Although they had not known of Don’s decision, they felt it was only right to honor his wishes.
“Of course, my dad would sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor – it’s just the right thing to do,” Rachel says. “He was such a giving man, and it’s comforting knowing that there is still a part of him out there helping others,” says Rachel. Don was always willing to give a lending hand or help in any way he could.
Don was a tissue donor, enhancing and saving other people’s lives. His family is glad that he could help others after his death. They too are registered as donors to help others when the time comes. “It’s just another opportunity to be generous and kind,” Rachel says.
Don’t wait to show your generosity – register your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today.
Coach August is among the Illinois coaches that the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Donate Life Illinois honor along with their families and communities for saying “yes” to organ, tissue and eye donation. For the fifth year in 2022, we are partnering with IHSA to encourage high school students to become educated about donation and “Say Yes” to joining the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry upon receiving their driver’s licenses.