DENTON, NC -- Mike Crowell, a 25-year veteran coach and teacher at South Davidson, died Sunday at his home in Denton.
According to Davidson County Schools, Crowell taught physical education and coached wrestling for all 25 years at the school. He coached the football team for the last five, the school district said.
Monday his players and wrestlers, past and present, were shocked and saddened.
"He's one of those guys you just want to try your best for -- to put a smile on his face -- because he never smiled about anything," said current player Hunter Cardwell.
"He wasn't just a coach, he was a father figure. He’d done everything for you," said former player Nick Dahlenburg.
"Putting the pads on won't be the same," said current player Alex Lambert.
South Davidson's homecoming game is Friday. Davidson County Schools said it would honor Crowell then. The district has not yet said how.
Coach Crowell was a lifetime Alabama football fan, and his ringtone was Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."
The people of Denton started a Facebook campaign to try to get Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban to appear at Friday's game against Chatham Central. You can view the posts on Saban's Facebook page here.
Davidson County Schools said no funeral arrangements had been made.