As South Alabama prepares to embark on its final transition year into full-fledged Div. 1-A membership, the football program has been forced to deal with an unimaginable tragedy involving a member of its coaching staff.
In a press release issued Tuesday evening, and was sadly lost amid the Bobby Petrino fallout at Arkansas, the university announced that assistant coach Kurt Crain was found dead in his home earlier in the afternoon. While the school stated that further details were unavailable, aside from police reporting foul play was not suspected, the Baldwin County (Ala.) coroner subsequently ruled that Crain had died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Crain was 47 years old, and leaves behind a wife and three children.
“We’ve lost a great man, coach and mentor at the University of South Alabama,” said USA head football coach Joey Jones in a statement. “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.”
The Birmingham News wrote that, “[l]ast season, Crain suffered with prostatitis, an infection of the prostate, which required at least three surgeries during the season.” Crain had lost 32 pounds and most of his prostate as a result of the disease. It’s unclear what if any role the disease played in Crain’s apparent suicide.
Crain had been an assistant at USA since 2008. He was an All-American linebacker at Auburn and played on the Tigers’ 1987 SEC championship season.
Our heartfelt thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to his wife, children and anyone else impacted by this tragedy.
(Photo credit: coachkcrain.com)