Whittingham Offers Condolences To Utes Fan Who Passed Away Saturday, UVA Football
SALT LAKE CITY- Life is fragile and no one understands that better than Kyle Whittingham and Utah football. Before diving into the nuts and bolts of his weekly press conference, Whittingham took time to address a couple of tragedies- one close to home and the other across the country with thoughtful love.
Our hearts are broken for @UVAFootball. An absolutely unspeakable tragedy.
Hold each other close, and please know that although there is little we can do to ease the pain you all feel, we send our love to you and the families of the three young men who have passed. 💔
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) November 14, 2022
The Utes lost a family member Saturday night while on the field playing Stanford. A fan who was in attendance with his son suffered a heart attack at the game and didn’t pull through despite fellow fans jumping in to administer aid till the paramedics arrived. The man’s son posted on Facebook that his father died doing what he loved- watching Utah football.
Monday morning unfortunately provided more tragic news for the college football community. Three University of Virginia football players, wide receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler along with linebacker D’Sean Perry were gunned down- allegedly by another former UVA football player with two other people injured.
I am very saddened to learn about the tragic deaths of students at @uidaho and @UVA. We grieve with our colleagues. Please see our campus statement by @LoriKMcDonald and the resources available to help as we try to make sense of these events. https://t.co/HccfpL2tti
— Taylor Randall, UofU President (@PresidentUofU) November 14, 2022
“We want to send our condolences from our program to Virginia,” Whittingham started off Monday morning. “A tragic, horrific situation that they are going through, and thoughts and prayers are with them and their program. It’s awful. There’s not much more you can say. We’re thinking about them. Also, we lost a fan at our game on Saturday. He had a heart attack at the game I guess was the situation and passed away. Again, you hate to hear about it but thoughts and prayers to their family as well of our fan who passed away.”
Utah Athletics’ Recent Experience With Heart Break
The Utes have their own recent experiences with heart breaking situations with the most current situation stemming from the fan at Saturday’s game.
My heart breaks for these young men, their families and the entire University of Virginia community. All here at @utahathletics offer our prayers and support during this horrendous and tragic time- https://t.co/rzatSHGjQ8
— Mark Harlan (@MarkHarlan_AD) November 14, 2022
Last season, football in particular had to process two player’s deaths within nine months of each other. Running back Ty Jordan and cornerback Aaron Lowe were both senselessly taken much too soon. Eerily enough, the two were high school friends, and wore the same number (Lowe switched to 22 to honor Jordan who passed first). The number 22 was consequently retired after Lowe’s death but carries very significant meaning to the program to this day.
Before Ty and Aaron in 2018, Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey was murdered by her ex-boyfriend on campus after several attempts to get help were ignored. McCluskey’s death marked a change in how campus safety is viewed and continues to be a major topic of discussion not only at the University of Utah, but across college campuses in the nation thanks to the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.
Sending all the love UVA’s way. Living in and covering a community that has had more than its fair share of shocking tragedies, it’s always hard to see it happen to anyone else when you understand that pain ❤️#LLLDJ #LLDSP #LLDC
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) November 14, 2022
Because of Utah’s experiences with tragedy, Whittingham says he and the team have personally reached out to UVA to let them know they are there whenever and however they are needed.
“We’ve reached out and done some things to let them know we are thinking of them and praying for them,” Whittingham said. “We have been through our share of tragedy and it’s just horrific. You have three players- I can’t even- what they are going through is difficult and of course paired up with who it was, I couldn’t think about a worse situation.”
Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports
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