Former Cary-Grove and Northern Illinois star Alex Kube tackled life and football with passion and enthusiasm, thus his sudden death Wednesday stunned those who knew him.
Kube, 29, died at 11:50 p.m. at Mercy Health in Rockford. The cause of death was not listed. An autopsy was conducted Thursday, the results of which are "pending further studies," Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz said.
Kube was among the core group of players responsible for transforming a then-mediocre Cary-Grove football program into a perennial powerhouse. He was a linebacker/safety on the 2004-05 Cary-Grove squad that finished runner-up to Libertyville in Class 7A.
As a senior in 2005-06, he was named honorary co-captain of the Daily Herald All-Area Team/Fox Valley. The two-way player rushed for 15 touchdowns and made 64 tackles (38 solo).
Retired Cary-Grove hall-of-fame coach Bruce Kay once called Kube the best player he coached.
"I remember even as a freshman he was a leader," Kay said Thursday. "He was ready to step up and compete. He was so competitive. As a senior he played offense and defense and he kicked off and kicked extra points. He did about everything but fill up the balls."
Another former Cary-Grove standout, Andrew Lorman, named honorary co-captain of the 2006-07 all-area team, was a junior when Kube was a senior. The two played the sport together every fall once Kube's parents, Tim and Lorna, moved to Cary from Germany when Alex was 11. Now an accountant who resides in Barrington, Lorman said news of his friend and former teammate's passing came as a shock.
"It was just numbing to hear," Lorman said. "It's something you never expect to hear about somebody who's done so much for the community in Cary. Everyone knew who he was whether you went to the football games or not. He was just a person at school you knew because he was always making people laugh, always clowning around. He was just a funny guy. I think that's why it's affecting everyone so powerfully.
"I've been getting texts and calls from guys I haven't talked to in a while, just telling stories about the funny stuff Alex used to do to make us laugh and all the time we'd spend together after games. We've been doing a lot of reminiscing about the good times we had with him."
Kube went on to play linebacker for four years at Northern Illinois, where he finished with 311 career tackles. He was invited to rookie camp by the Minnesota Vikings and later played with the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League.
He went on to start a business called Elite 7 Performance, which helps athletes train for competition. That business recently moved to Rockford, where Kube worked as an assistant football coach at Rockford East.
"He got out of college and he worked to develop a good business," said Cary-Grove football coach Brad Seaburg, who was Kube's running backs coach in 2005. "A lot of that just had to do with him and his personality and how infectious he was. People just gravitated toward him. It's just sad. He had so much life ahead of him and I know he had just gotten married a couple of years ago. It's just sad."
Corey Sheehan, a 2016 Crystal Lake South graduate who plays football at Concordia, was trained by Kube at Elite 7 along with several of his former teammates.
"Alex worked with us individually trying to get us college looks and to train us to be the best ever," Sheehan said. "He took his time to take us in and would do everything he could to get us to the next level. He was the greatest mentor and it brings tears to my eyes to see him go."