The head football coach at Hillcrest High School in Midvale died Sunday night from a viral infection. Cazzie Brown was 43 years old and had been with the school for a year.
Hillcrest principal Gregory Leavitt says that despite the fact Brown had never been a head coach before the decision to hire him last year was an easy one. He says Brown was dynamic and energetic.
“He was just a great guy, kids loved him. He had a lot of sayings, ‘One pack, one goal,’" Leavitt says. "His impact was felt here at Hillcrest High School."
Brown took a special interest in his athletes’ academic success and pushed them to make serious plans for college
Last week Brown was put on life support after contracting the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. He then contracted meningitis and died shortly thereafter.
The school held a candlelight vigil on Monday night and will honor Brown again at the Hillcrest football game this Friday against Salt Lake City’s Highland High School, where Brown used to coach.
Leavitt says as a sign of unity the two teams will enter the field shoulder to shoulder and do their pre and post-game workouts together.
“We’re going to celebrate his life and all of the fans are going to come together as a united group who have been affected by Cazzie Brown," says Leavitt.
Although yet to be confirmed by state health officials, Brown is likely the first West Nile-related death in Utah this year. There have been 8 confirmed cases.