Jun Glover

Jun Glover coaches his youngest son, Jaylen, 8, in a recent match with their wrestling team in Galloway Township. Glover was still a teenager himself when he started coaching other Galloway youths in football and wrestling.

Glover family photo

Jun Glover was a coach.

He was a dad, too, and to feed his family, he was a hospital nurse’s assistant. But in his short life — he was just 31 when he died suddenly (and so far, mysteriously) in his sleep last month — Glover earned that title, coach.

His wife, Cheryl, says Jun was so dedicated to coaching kids in wrestling and football that he tried to plan his work schedule around sports — instead of the other way around.

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He coached both sports in youth leagues in Galloway Township, where his family lives — Jun and Cheryl have three boys and a girl, 8 to 13 years old. He also coached wrestling at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, until his boys got old enough to wrestle.

Then Jun coached his kids’ teams in Galloway, and started coaching Holy Spirit’s Spartan Wrestling Club in the spring and summer — wrestling’s usual off-season.

“He’d go from one sport to the other,” Cheryl says. “As one ended, he’d start the next one.”

Jun — it’s short for Junious, but he was Junious Jr. — was barely more than a kid himself when he started coaching kids. His wife says the two were still dating as teenagers when Jun first became a volunteer coach. And he was a volunteer that whole coaching career — he definitely wasn’t in it for the money.

“It was like once he started, he just fell in love with it,” says Jason Glover, Jun’s younger brother, by 11 months.

They moved to Galloway from Philadelphia when Jun was 14 — their parents are divorced, and both remarried. Jun and Jason went to and wrestled at Absegami High School.

Then they were assistant wrestling coaches together at Holy Spirit, but “I got out,” says Jason, a security guard who lives in Atlantic City.

“But sports were always Jun’s passion, all through life,” Jason says. “And he loved coaching his own kids. With his boys, that was their time together.”

Ralph Paolone, of Linwood, is Holy Spirit’s head wrestling coach. He saw how good Jun was with his own kids — “Everywhere he went, those kids were there” — but what really impressed Paolone was how many other kids his friend connected with. Even at out-of-state wrestling tournaments, “it was amazing how many people knew him,” Paolone says.

Robin Bowles, of Galloway, saw Jun in action as a coach for six years — her son Owen, 13, is a friend, classmate and teammate of Syhee, the Glovers’ oldest boy.

“For my son, losing Jun was like losing a friend,” Bowles says. “And I know everybody felt that way about him.”

Jun’s wife knew she was marrying a coach. And Cheryl knew why he coached — and cared — as much as he did.

“There are always troubled kids,” she says. “And if they were playing a sport, and my husband was there, that was a good thing for them.”

A Life Lived appears Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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