Technocats mourn loss of coach Wise

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

BOGUE CHITTO — Mississippi FIRST Tech Challenge and the Bogue Chitto Technocats announced Bogue Chitto Robotics coach Reggie Wise died Wednesday morning. Wise was a retired science teacher from the school and was two weeks away from accompanying his team to the World Competition in Houston.

He originally worked in the space industry on the Gulf Coast before teaching at Bogue Chitto. At his home in North Brookhaven, he built a shop for the robotics teams to practice and build. Not only did he coach the Technocats but he also coached the Slight Malfunction Robotics team, made up of homeschool kids.

Kristy Gates, mother of Lucy Gates a member of the Bogue Chitto Robotics team, wrote she knew where he is and could find comfort in a Facebook post.

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“He was such a kind and loving man that has taught these kids so much more about life than robotics,” Gates wrote. “He is already missed. Please keep this team lifted up. They are scheduled to leave for Houston in two weeks for the World Competition. We know this will be hard without him.”

Wendy Cawthorn also coaches the robotics team.  She said the team will compete at worlds to honor Wise. It was a tough chore for her to break the news to the Technocats but she told them she didn’t want them to hear the news from anyone but her.

The students were upset, she said. They plan to meet again next Wednesday ahead of the Worlds Championships for the first time since his passing. Former Techocats have offered to help the team in the wake.

“He was sweet and very calm. He touched so many lives,” Cawthorn said. “Our last trip to Meridian, he was having trouble with directions. We saw parts of Meridian we should have never seen. I lived in Meridian and I was thinking ‘I’ve never seen this before.'”

Wise leaves behind three children and five grandchildren. He is the second robotics coach to die in Mississippi this year, Cawthorn said.

The team is working towards fundraising a goal of $15,000 needed to travel to Worlds in Houston. They were 31 percent of the way to their goal as of April 3. People can still donate online or by making out a check to the Bogue Chitto Robotics Team at the school.