Mick McCabe, USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Consortium's boys basketball victory over Dayton Dunbar was completed, players of both teams had eaten and left, and Consortium coach Al Anderson went to the parking lot to invite the security guard to come in and eat.
When he returned to the school, Anderson called out to assistant coach James "Cap" Mitchell Jr., whom he had known since Anderson's days as a student at Detroit DePorres.
"Hey Cap," Anderson said as he sat down in a chair in the lobby.
Anderson raised his arm and prepared to say something, but he collapsed and fell to the floor.
He was pronounced dead at Henry Ford Hospital on Saturday night.
Anderson, 40, received a pacemaker in August 2011. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure last March and in September began treatment for cardiac sarcoidosis.
Anderson was in his sixth season as head coach at Consortium, the No. 2-ranked team in Class C (13-3). Consortium was one of the favorites to win a state championship in what might have been Anderson's final season as a coach.
His daughter, Autumn, 14, is a freshman basketball player at St. Clair Shores Lakeview, and the love for his wife, Kimberly, and daughter came before basketball.
"Yeah, it was a close race," Kimberley said with a laugh. "He already decided after this season he was kind of ready to hang it up. He wanted to be around for Autumn. We had just had that conversation. If his health didn't get any better, that was his decision."
Next to his family - Al and Kimberley Anderson would have celebrated their 15th anniversary in May - basketball and his players were the most important things in Anderson's life.
"That was his passion, absolutely," Kimberly said. "He's been doing it as long as I've known him."
At Consortium he also served as the school's home liaison, dealing with discipline problems.
Mitchell joined Anderson's staff five years ago and found him to be an amazing young man.
"He was a great human being," Mitchell said. "He was a person that wants to do something for someone. We talk about that unconditional love, that agape love, the young man had it."
Senior all-stater Vincent Hunter, who signed to play at Texas-El Paso next season, was grief stricken when he heard the news of Anderson's death.
Hunter found Anderson to be more than just a coach to him and the team's other players, who will dedicate the remainder of the season to him.
"He meant everything to me," Hunter said. "He helped me a lot; he worked out with me a lot. He did a lot of things for me.
"He was tough; he got us tough. But he was definitely understanding."
Kimberley met Anderson when both were students at Central Michigan, where he ran track after he played basketball for the legendary Ed Rachal at DePorres.
"He took everything he could from Eddie," said former DePorres player and assistant coach David Greenwood. "Other than the cussin' and fussin', he got all that from Eddie. And he cared about the kids on the academic standpoint more so than on just their athletic ability."
Greg Carter was the football coach at DePorres when Anderson was a student and was close to the Anderson even though he didn't play football.
"He might as well have been on the football team because he was always on the sideline," Carter said. "Every championship game we had he would be right on the sideline. I think he knew he was going to be one some day so I guess he was scouting me."
Carter used to play pickup basketball with Anderson and followed his coaching exploits.
"I've been a fan of him since he took the position at Consortium," Carter said. "I just liked his approach. He was kind of mild-mannered, but he could get with the kids when he needed to. I think he had all areas covered."
Anderson took great pride in this team, and Mitchell said he was especially pleased with how the team had developed over the season.
Over the last two weeks, Consortium lost to Romulus, the No. 2 team in Class A, but beat L'Anse Creuse North, Lansing Waverly and Dunbar.
"He was so happy, not so much that the victory was great, but the thing that really touched him was that at Friday's practice the whole team came together," Mitchell said. "He could see it. He had seen something that no one else had seen.
"He told me, 'I had doubts. I have no doubts now. We will win a state championship. We have a team to win a state championship.' "
With Anderson's death, Consortium lost a coach and valuable member of its staff. Its students lost a mentor and father figure. Kimberly lost most of her world.
"He was my best friend," she said. "He made me laugh. We were very close. I loved everything about him. He was just a great guy. He touched so many people, and he's really going to be missed.
"I just know he wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way."
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Mick McCabe writes for the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett property