Associate Head Coach Kurt Crain Dead At 47
Associate head coach Kurt Crain was found dead today, he was 47. The cause is not known at this time per this AL.com article.
Spanish Fort police reported that he was found dead in his home this afternoon. Further details was not released but they did indicated that foul play was not suspected. Coach Crain was among the first coaches hired by Coach Joey Jones when he came to South Alabama. In a release by the University coach Jones was quoted saying, “We’ve lost a great man, coach and mentor at the University of South Alabama. In my opinion, Kurt was one of the best overall coaches I’ve ever seen. He cared about the players, they respected him greatly, and he was a tremendous football coach and motivator. I think about what a great man and what a great teacher he was for these young men. All Kurt would ever talk about was his family and how much he loved his wife and kids. That’s the kind of man he was.”
Coach Crain began by playing football at Auburn University where he was selected as an AP All-American linebacker and lead the team to a 19-3-2 mark as the 1987 SEC championship, two bowl berths and a top-10 finish finish in the polls both seasons. He was a two time All-SEC selection at linebacker and voted as a captain his senior season.
Crain played two seasons in the NFL with the Houston Oilers and Green Bay Packers. He began his coaching career in the early 1990′s as a graduate assistant with Auburn. He then went on to coach at Troy with Larry Blakeney and TCU with Pat Sullivan before coming to South Alabama.
Coach Crain worked with the inside linebackers for three seasons prior to this spring when he had moved to the defensive line. The inside linebackers, lead by him, lead the team each season with stops while helping the Jaguar defense to rank in the top 20 nationally in FCS in both pass defense and total yards nationally in 2011.
He will be sorely missed not only on the practice field and the sidelines, but in the field house. I spoke to coach Crain a few times and he, like all of the coaches at South Alabama, was humble and loved to talk about everything.
Please keep his wife and children in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this terrible time.
Update 8:45pm The Baldwin County coroner Stan Vinson says that Coach Crain died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He suffered from prostatis, an infection of the prostate, last season which required at least three surgeries and IV antibiotics. The illness forced him to miss the Jaguars first FBS game at North Carolina State as well as a number of practices. He had lost over 30 pounds because of the illness and most of his prostate had to be removed.
The Press-Register quoted Coach Jones from a phone interview saying, “I always ask them, ‘How do you want to be remembered? When I think about Kurt, when I heard the news, all I thought about was the great persons that he was. Those kids, you could tell he meant a lot to them. He meant a lot to everybody in that room. … I told them to focus on the good that he did in his lifetime.”
“He was always a happy-go-lucky, loved-to-play-football guy when I knew him as a player. He was the same way here as a coach.”