Akron assistant football coach Alan Arrington, 44, passed away on Monday, Dec. 23 following a car accident in his native Mississippi, according to a news release from the school's official website.
Nicknamed "Tank," Arrington was in his second season under Zips head coach Terry Bowden and had worked with the offensive line as well as assisted in head coaching duties.
Bowden, who brought Arrington to Akron with him from North Alabama in 2012, expressed his heartache after hearing the news, per GoZips.com:
I can't put into words how tragic this is. We have lost someone who was truly special and had dedicated his life to guiding young men. Tank was a very good friend and a great person. My thoughts are with his family and those who had the chance to know him and play for him. In all my years of coaching I have never known someone who loved and cared for his players more than Tank. I have lost a best friend and I'm heartbroken.
Akron Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill added:
The Zips family has suffered a great loss. Tank was a wonderful representative of the University and our team, and our thoughts are with his family and friends in this difficult time. We will do all that we can to help support them, our student-athletes and staff.
Akron women's soccer coach Vernon Croft sent his best wishes to Arrington's family:
North Alabama football beat writer Jeff McIntyre, who worked closely with Arrington during his time in Florence, Ala., had fond memories of the coach:
So sad to hear of the passing of Tank Arrington. Tank was a reporter's dream to talk with after practice and a fun guy to be around.— Jeff McIntyre (@TD_JeffMcIntyre) December 24, 2013
South Alabama women's basketball coach Terry Fowler echoed similar sentiments:
A native of Oxford, Arrington graduated from Mississippi in 1994. He was a student assistant with the Rebels from 1991 to 1993 before earning an assistant coaching job at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
After a dozen years with the Rangers, Arrington joined the North Alabama staff, where he worked with Bowden from 2009 to 2011. The duo went 29-9 during their time together and led the Lions to an NCAA Division II quarterfinal appearance in 2009.
After going 1-11 in 2012, the Zips rebounded to finish 5-7 in 2013. They won three straight to end the year, including a rivalry game over Kent State by a score of 16-7.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.