Cheer Coaching Pioneer Dead at 53

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(Memphis) – Mid-Southerners are reacting to the death of a man who mentored and trained thousands of mid-south kids through Memphis Elite All-Stars.

Frankie Conklin helped put Memphis cheerleading in the national spotlight.

He was a legend in the competitive cheering community, but more than that, he was a champion for this community's children.

Friends say the 53-year-old died of a heart attack Sunday. His sudden death shocked the Mid-South cheerleading community.

A makeshift memorial was on the front porch where Conklin trained countless young people in cheer and dance.  The coaching pioneer served as the director of the Spirit Squads for the University of Memphis for nine years. He helped lead the cheer and pom-pon squads to seven national titles.

People, who couldn't bring flowers to the gym, poured out their love and support for Conklin on his face book page. Though he's gone, they say his legacy will live on.

One person wrote, “There will never be another like you, Frankie. Thank You for raising the bar. Cheerleading/dance is forever changed."

Another posted, "You were a great man with a heart of gold and the world won't be the same without ya, big guy!"

Those close to Conklin were too heartbroken to offer a comment on Sunday. Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.