MIDVALE, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah high school football community is mourning one of its most beloved members.
Hillcrest High head football coach Cazzie Brown passed away late Sunday night at the age of 41 after contracting a viral infection, believed to be the West Nile virus, six days ago.
Brown was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday where had been on life support ever since.
Many Hillcrest players took the field Friday night at Brighton not knowing the severity of their coach’s illness.
Brown was in his second season with Hillcrest after being an assistant coach with Highland High for the previous three years. Brown also coached at Judge Memorial and East High.
A graduate of the University of Utah, Brown is originally from Houston, Texas, and played football at Idaho State University.
A GoFundMe account was set up after Brown became ill and has raised over $35,000. On the page, a message read, “On behalf of the Brown family, we would like to begin by thanking everyone across the country who has expressed love for Cazzie and our family at this extremely difficult time.”
After his death was made public, tributes poured on on Brown’s Facebook page. Former Judge Memorial football player and current minor league baseball player Keenyn Walker wrote, “Truly one of the saddest days I have ever had to endure. We lost a great man today. Heaviest of heart to find out the news. Thank you for everything you taught me in life, and thank you for being such a huge inspiration to me and everyone you have ever been around.”
Brown is survived by his wife, Heather, and three children.
The Huskies are scheduled to play Highland this Friday night at Hillcrest High.