Whittingham Offers Condolences To Utes Fan Who Passed Away Saturday, UVA Football

Nov 14, 2022, 1:46 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 9:29 am

Kyle Whittingham - Utah Utes...

Head coach Kyle Whittingham looks on during the first quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

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.

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.

“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.

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.

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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Whittingham Offers Condolences To Utes Fan Who Passed Away Saturday, UVA Football