High School Sports

Former UNC player suffers heart attack while leading his undefeated high school team through practice

South Granville head coach Mike Hobgood during South Granville's football game at Bunn on Friday, October 21, 2016. Bunn won the game 9-3.
South Granville head coach Mike Hobgood during South Granville's football game at Bunn on Friday, October 21, 2016. Bunn won the game 9-3. newsobserver.com

Former UNC offensive lineman and South Granville head football coach Mike Hobgood suffered a major heart attack Wednesday, school athletic director Jake Wolhfeil confirmed. Wolfheil said Hobgood was alert and talking in ICU Thursday night.

“Things are looking much better today than they were a few days ago,” Wolfheil said via email.

Hobgood was feeling ill just before practice and was taken to a doctor’s office, said defensive coordinator Frank Mundy. Mundy, who has been named interim head coach, didn’t want to get into details about the scary scene, but did say Hobgood was taken in as soon as possible and “things worked out the best they could because of that.”

“Hopefully coach Hobgood will be back on his feet here and have the reins back as soon as possible,” Mundy said. “To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement.”

Hobgood is 82-60 overall and 78-53 at South Granville. This year’s 7-0 start is the second-best since South Granville opened in 1968 (the Vikings started 8-0 in 1998) and the team has one of its most important games of the year Friday, at Roanoke Rapids.

“It’s obviously a situation no one ever wants to go through, but (the players) are absolutely, 100 percent focused,” Mundy said. “We’ve got some great senior leadership, and they’re ready to go make coach Hobgood proud. That’s what they’ve all said they wanted to do.”

Hobgood was an offensive lineman for Northern High in Durham before playing for the Tar Heels, where he graduated in 1999. His first head coaching job came at South Granville in 2005. He left for Leesville Road in 2014 but came back to South Granville as a coordinator in 2015, and was named Vikings head coach for a second time in 2016.

South Granville will wear the Tar Heels’ “footprint” logo on the back of their helmets to honor their head coach. Mundy said it has somewhat of a double meaning, because Hobgood has also put his footprint on Creedmoor and the surrounding community.

“He’s come to personify South Granville football,” Mundy said. “There are coaches on the staff now who played for him. It’s become a generational thing.”

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