Southwest DeKalb football Tanks, 48, dies following stroke

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

Michael Tanks starred at Southwest DeKalb in the early 1980s and became head coach of his alma mater in 2013.

Michael Tanks starred at Southwest DeKalb in the early 1980s and became head coach of his alma mater in 2013.

Southwest DeKalb head football coach Michael Tanks, who suffered a stroke at his home on July 25, has died, his close friend and former high school teammate Steve Davenport confirmed Thursday.

Tanks spent several days in Grady Memorial Hospital after suffering a stroke at his home. He died on Wednesday, a day before his 49th birthday.

Tanks was a Southwest DeKalb alumnus who followed the legendary Buck Godfrey as Southwest’s head coach in 2013.

‘’It is a tremendous loss for Southwest DeKalb,’’ said Davenport, who is head football coach at Woodland in Henry County. ‘’It hurts on a personal level for me and for all of Southwest DeKalb. We’re a close-knit team and we rally together. We’re all feeling a tremendous loss.’’

Tanks and Davenport were football and basketball teammates as early as the eighth grade, and each played on Godfrey’s first two Southwest DeKalb teams (1983-84). Tanks was a linebacker who went on to become an All-America center at Florida State in 1989. Davenport would play and star as a wide receiver at Georgia Tech.

Tanks was in Davenport’s wedding, and Davenport later was the best man in Tanks’ wedding.

Tanks was on Davenport’s Decatur staff on the 2003 team that reached the Class AA semifinals at the Georgia Dome. Tanks then would succeed Davenport as Decatur’s head coach and serve there in 2005 and 2006.

‘’He had a tremendous sense of humor and was blunt in terms of his directives to you,’’ Davenport said. ‘’But he was a person who was tremendously loving and cared for those who he allowed to be part of his life. I was blessed to be part of that circle.’’

Davenport said that no funeral arrangements had been made but expected services to take place next week.

Southwest DeKalb has continued to practice, as the first official day of practices in full pads was Monday. No interim coach has been announced publicly.

Southwest DeKalb was 4-6 in 2015. Tanks’ son Michael II is a senior defensive back and punter for the current team.