MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- The Mooresville High School football stadium bears his name, and for people in this town the name Joe Popp means so much more than football.
"Coach Popp is what Mooresville is all about... I remember the days when he and his wife would sit outside (their house) just talking to anyone who came by," said Jeffrey Matthews of Mooresville.
He is being laid to rest in his adopted home of Mooresville and hundreds will line Main Street to watch his funeral procession followed by many of his former players from Mooresville and other teams.The procession will make it way through downtown and pass the Stadium named after him last year. It will then head to his final resting place.
"We weren't friends then, but over the years we are good friends now. I owe him so much. I would have never went to college if it weren't for him," said Linker who later went on to East Carolina and then became a pilot.
Linker returned to Mooresville to retire a few years back just like his coach who had left in the late part of the 1960's to coach football on the college and the professional levels.
Something a lot of people in Mooresville and other stops along the career path of coach Joe Popp are doing today.