Denton, NC -- Hundreds of mourners visited South Davidson High School Thursday evening to pay respects to the school's longtime wrestling and football coach.
Mike Crowell, 52, died Sunday. He'd coached the wrestling team at South for 25 years and spent five as the school's head football coach. His death has rocked his Davidson County community, and people arrived in droves for a memorial service in the high school gym.
Crowell was also an avid Univ. of Alabama fan. Since his death, his current and former students have been using the hashtag #sabanforcrowell to try to get the attention of Alabama's head football coach, Nick Saban. They hoped Saban would be able to make an appearance at their homecoming game Friday.
NCAA rules and a busy schedule might keep Saban from appearing, but he did send a personal letter to Coach Crowell's family. Crowell's sister-in-law said he would have been thrilled with the correspondence.
"Mike would just be so delighted," Karen Pierce said. "[Saban] was an idol to Mike, and he would certainly be ecstatic knowing that Saban took the time to recognize him for the work that Mike's done."
Pierce also thanked the community for the outpouring of support and condolences that have been on display in the last several days.
"On behalf of his wife and his children and our family, we just want to thank everyone," Pierce said. "We want to thank all of his former students [and] his present students for all the love that they have shown our family -- and especially Mike."
A private burial for Crowell is scheduled for Friday.
WFMY News 2