Utah high schools rally around beloved football coach’s family

Editor's note: Shortly after this story aired Sunday night, a family spokesperson contacted Fox 13 to say Cazzie Brown has passed away. 

MIDVALE, Utah -- A community is holding on to hope as their beloved football coach is in the hospital.

Midvale's Hillcrest High School Coach Cazzie Brown contracted bacterial meningitis due to complications with his thyroid. He went to the Emergency Room Wednesday.

A family spokesperson said things quickly got worse when the virus attacked his brain, and he has been on life support since Thursday.

Now his community is pulling for him.

“He walked in the front door and immediately had an impact," said Hillcrest High School Principal Gregory Leavitt.

Leavitt said since Brown was hired as head coach in January 2016, he has made a big impact at the school to faculty, as well as students, both on and off the team.

"He just had the tone of voice, the attitude, the love in his face, in his heart that everyone was drawn to him," Leavitt said.

Brown was known as "coach" at a few other area schools: East High School, Judge Memorial Catholic High School, and Highland High School. He spent ten years at Highland.

At Friday night's game, players and coaches at Judge Memorial and Juan Diego Catholic High School joined hand-in-hand in a circle to pray for Coach Brown.

Leavitt said Brown may not be on the sidelines at Hillcrest this season, but that does not mean they are giving up hope Brown will recover.

“We’re using the word is not was," Leavitt said.

Counselors will be at the school starting Monday to help students. All are encouraged to wear green Monday for Coach Brown.

Leavitt said they are also looking forward to Friday night's game against Highland High School. He said all fans will be wearing white and players from both teams will walk out of the tunnel two-by-two in honor of Coach Brown.

They will also be collecting cash for the family to help with the already established GoFundMe page, which you can donate to here.