When Mike Adcock returned to Hall County in 2002 to begin the boys basketball program at the new Flowery Branch High School, he started from scratch.
The Falcons didn’t win a game that first year but he still encouraged his team through its struggles.
Now those players and coaches that Adcock worked with over the years are mourning his death on Wednesday.
"We opened Flowery Branch and had a chance to coach each other’s children," said Angela Middleton, the school’s former girls basketball coach. "When you talk about Coach Adcock as a coach, he always told me that our job was not to coach basketball but teaching life experiences ... and he always had interesting experiences to share."
A candlelight vigil in Adcock’s memory was held Thursday night, organized by Johnson High students and teachers.
"He was very loved and will be very missed by everybody," Johnson teacher Gina Caston said. "We just wanted to do something to reach out to the community, to friends, to staff and students, all the lives coach Adcock touched. He has a lot of lives he has touched throughout the years and I think people want to show how much he meant to us all these years."
Johnson rising junior Mark Pettitt spearheaded the vigil.
"I got a lot of text messages yesterday from folks who wanted to do something for him," Pettitt said. "He was just a great guy. He really impacted the lives of every student here."
Pettitt, who started a Facebook prayer group for Adcock in August after the car accident, said he will miss Adcock’s "glow."
"He really helped everybody out. He knew every child had a different case and he really listened and got to know the individual," Pettitt said.
Adcock, 53, served as a coach and educator in local schools for 27 years. He died at his home Wednesday afternoon.
Last August, Adcock was involved in a one-car accident on his way to school that led to numerous, life-threatening injuries from which he had been slowly recovering. He endured more than 18 surgeries and 11 weeks in the hospital, and had part of his left leg amputated.
The assistant principal was at Johnson High on Wednesday morning for the last teacher work day of the school year, Hall County schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said.
Jaybo Shaw, a sophomore quarterback for the Georgia Tech football team, played basketball for Adcock the first year Flowery Branch opened.
"One thing about Coach Adcock, we always had a good time and he made basketball fun," Shaw said. "Probably the best memory I have was when I was a sophomore and we went on a trip to Florida at Christmas to a basketball tournament and he made it fun for a lot of us.
"Flowery Branch basketball wouldn’t be what it is today without Coach Adcock."
Adcock had just finished his second year as an assistant principal at Johnson High School and attended graduation ceremonies, where he was honored, Saturday night.
Adcock coached the Falcons boys for four years. He previously coached at West Hall High from 1989 to 1998 and led the Spartans to three state playoff appearances. Before that, he spent four years at Rabun County, where he served as the Wildcats’ basketball coach before becoming an assistant principal at the school.
Bobby Pless, current boys basketball coach at North Forsyth, coached against Adcock during his years at Flowery Branch.
"We both kind of shared with the struggles of starting a new high school and a new program with a lot of inexperienced players," Pless said. "He was always a good guy to talk to and get some advice and experience. Mike was just a good guy, win or lose. He would always talk to you even if his team lost to your team. He was one of the few coaches that you coached against and you could sit down and talk about anything besides basketball and feel very comfortable with ... we’ll all definitely miss him."
Adcock is survived by his wife, Linda Adcock, who teaches at Spout Springs Elementary; his son, David Adcock, who just finished his first year as a special education teacher at Johnson High School; and his daughter, Beth Adcock, who was a senior at Piedmont College this spring.
Visitation is scheduled for 4 to 9 p.m. today at Memorial Park South in Flowery Branch. Funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Oakwood. A graveside service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Lumpkin.
Jessica Jordan contributed to this report