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DAN ALBANO, STAFF
Fullerton assistant football coach Mark Takkinen, who died Tuesday after a battle with colon cancer, is shown talking to players during a practice for the O.C. All-Star Game in 2013. He is on the right, wearing a visor.

Fullerton High mourns death of coach Mark Takkinen

STAFF WRITER

Mark Takkinen, the softball coach and an assistant football coach at Fullerton, died Tuesday evening. He was 58.

Takkinen died at St. Jude Medical Center after struggling with colon cancer, which he had recently been diagnosed with, Indians football coach Gus Martinez said.

“We are a family, and today we lost a family member,” Fullerton principal Rani Goyal said of Takkinen. “He epitomized family. His sons also coach here. He’s an Indian for life, and he’ll be remembered as such.”

Takkinen became an assistant football coach at Fullerton in 2006 and took over as the the school’s softball coach in 2007. He taught U.S. history.

Before his move to Fullerton, he served as Sonora’s football coach (1992-2005) and athletic director.

“He’s an adopted Indian, that’s for sure,” Martinez said. “He took on all kinds of different roles here at the school. He coached wrestling for a bit when we needed someone, took over the softball program, and helped out as the athletic director.

“He was always willing to help, and was a big part of why we’ve been successful.”

Since 2007, Fullerton’s football program has sold pink “Tackle Cancer” T-shirts in October to help raise money for breast cancer awareness. Because of Takkinen’s recent diagnosis, the Indians altered the shirts to read “Takkle Cancer” this season in support of the team’s line coach.

Takkinen’s three sons, Michael, Patrick and Cody, spoke to the Indians football team Wednesday about their father’s passing.

“We’ve been struggling all week because we knew he was in hospital,” Martinez said. “The team really rallied around his sons, showed a lot of support for coach Mike, Patrick and Cody.”

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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