Bob Frankenfield had just called Tom Poynton Jr. last week, about renting a canopy next month from In-Tents LLC, Poynton's business with childhood friend Ed Labatch.
Frankenfield, who retired in February after 35 years at head basketball coach at Wilson Area High School, would also get to see Poynton -- Tommy -- when the former Warriors student-athlete would visit Wilson. Poynton was an assistant coach of the Pirates from Palisades High School, where he also worked as a teacher.Tom Poynton Jr., 32, was a Wilson Area High School graduate and taught in the Palisades School District. (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com)
Poynton's death Tuesday morning hit his former coach hard.
"You're just left with this sick feeling," Frankenfield said Tuesday night. "Even after all these years he'd call me 'Coach' or 'Mr. Frankenfield.' He was always very respectful.
"He worked hard, at football just like he did at basketball. It's just a bad time."
Poynton was electrocuted by a power line that had fallen into the back yard of his Williams Township home, in the 200 block of Royal Manor Road. He was 32, according to Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek. His dog was also killed, and his house caught fire in the incident.
He's the second player of Frankenfield's whose unexpected death he's had to face. Daye-Shawn Bailey was 19, a recent Wilson Area graduate, when he died in July 2014 of an undiagnosed heart condition.
"As a coach, they're your boys, they're your family," Frankenfield said.Wilson Area High School boys basketball coach Bob Frankenfield coaches his final home game, Feb. 1, 2016, against Pen Argyl, after 41 years, including 35 as head coach. (Sue Beyer | For lehighvalleylive.com)
He feels the worst for Poynton's family, including his parents Sharon and Tom Poynton Sr., who are still active with Wilson Area athletics, and Tom Poynton Jr.'s wife, Sarah.
"I just can't imagine what it's like to lose a child," Frankenfield said. "There's no words. You're just overwhelmed and saddened."
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Poynton as a senior played for the 2002-03 Warriors boys basketball team that went 18-0 in the regular season and fell just shy of their first Colonial League championship, losing 60-51 to Saucon Valley High School to finish the season 24-3. It's a record Frankenfield remembers in an instant.
"They were a special group for me, might have been one of the best teams I coached," he recalled.
Frankenfield said as he remembers Poynton, he has no doubt his former player instilled his values in the Palisades team he helped coach.
"He worked hard, he played hard, he was loyal, he was a competitor," Frankenfield said. "He's what every coach wanted to have."
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