Nearly a year and a half later, Wake Forest-Rolesville baseball coach Kevin Lynch says he relives it every day.
Theres something always reminding me of Austin, he said.
Throughout the schools campus are both subtle and direct acknowledgements of the memory of Austin Flowers, who died in a June 2011 auto accident with two other Wake Forest-Rolesville student-athletes, Matt Speight and Lane Meyer. A fourth student, Brenden Pearce, survived the crash.
A rock, painted by seniors each year, bears all three of the boys names. A garden was planted in their honor. A wooden jersey with Flowers name and number 79 hangs at the schools Trentini Stadium.
I dont know how to describe it, Lynch said of the day he found out about Flowers death. It was the worst thing Ive ever been through in my life, especially as a coach ... and seeing all of the kids, and basically the whole school, in that kind of pain. It was horrifying.
Lynch coached Flowers on the Cougars baseball team, and the teen was also a part of the schools football program. All of the students involved in the crash were athletes, but the accidents impact went beyond the playing field, shaking every corner of the school and surrounding community.
The boys, from both Wake Forest and Rolesville, participated in various extracurricular activities in and outside of school. Speight was a senior at the time of the crash, Meyer a junior and Flowers a sophomore. A candlelight vigil brought everyone together in their memory.
There were no groups of people, there were no cliques, said Wake Forest-Rolesville senior McKinley Thompson. It was like everyone came together as one to remember them because everyone was equally affected by it and everyone knew them equally.
Those who knew the boys personally will never forget them, but a group of Flowers classmates is working to make sure their friends legacy lives on after they graduate from Wake Forest.
Austin always had a smile on his face, said senior Ben Fingers, who grew up playing baseball with Flowers. He always talked to everyone, he wasnt shy. ... He was a smart kid, very intelligent. When youre in a room with him, everythings brighter.
Last spring, Fingers created a memorial scholarship fund in his late friends honor.
The scholarship is to be awarded to two male athletes at Wake Forest-Rolesville who exhibit high academic achievement, have strong leadership qualities and are actively involved in community service.
We hope it inspires more people to be the type of person we remember Austin as, Thompson said.
A scholarship fund in Meyers name had previously been created. Making one for Flowers, who was a member of the graduating class of 2013, was something the students wanted to do for their classmate.
The first recipients of the $2,500 scholarships are to be awarded May 10, Flowers birthday.
To help fund the awards, Fingers, Thompson and fellow Wake Forest-Rolesville DECA member David Dooling are organizing the Austin Flowers Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament, which will take place Tuesday. The tournament is just one of many events DECA students have planned throughout the year to fund the scholarship.
Wake Forest-Rolesville football coach Reggie Lucas said the scholarship was a fitting tribute to Flowers.
I just knew how much Austin loved Wake Forest-Rolesville, Lucas said. He loved playing football, playing baseball, and this was something that would honor his commitment to us. We definitely dont want Austins memory to be erased.