ABBEVILLE, S.C. - More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday to mourn the loss of Abbeville High School football coach Dennis Botts, who was the school's all-time victories leader with 146.
Botts, 55, died Wednesday after complications from a stroke. Under an overcast sky on a chilly day, family and friends filled Hite Stadium to somberly salute Botts, who had been a high school coach for 22 years at Abbeville and Calhoun Falls. He won 188 games during his career.
"It just showed that even on a cold, 29-degree day that people would come out to honor and to pay respects to him," said Tony Temple, Botts' son-in-law and an assistant football coach.
"A lot of weather like this would keep people from coming to a football game, but it didn't keep them from coming to honor him," Temple told The (Greenwood) Index-Journal.
Botts' casket was at the 50-yard line. More than 100 current and former players gathered near the family. Botts was buried at Long Cane Cemetery after the service.
Mark Smith, who was an assistant for 15 years under Botts at Abbeville, knew the community would come to the funeral service to honor Botts no matter what the conditions were.
"I wasn't surprised that so many people would come out on such a tough day, weather-wise, in tribute to him," said Smith, who was a pallbearer. "The lives that he's touched spread far and wide. We're such a close-knit community."