BYU Staffers To Participate In Tribute For UVA Shooting Victims

Nov 17, 2022, 9:07 PM
BYU Football, LaVell Edwards Stadium...
BYU football and the Utah Tech programs will have tributes to the victims of the UVA shooting that killed three Virginia football players. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – When BYU football and Utah Tech square off on Saturday in LaVell Edwards Stadium, there will be hints of blue and orange on the two sidelines. The reason? A tribute to the victims in the horrific University of Virginia shooting this past Sunday in Charlottesville.

Three Virginia football players, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry, were shot and killed in a parking garage after returning to campus from a field trip.

Former Virginia coaches will wear orange and blue this weekend

Former BYU running back and assistant coach Mark Atuaia, now the running backs coach at Washington State, put together an idea to pay respects to the Virginia community. Atuaia worked at Virginia for the past six seasons under former UVa and BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

His tribute will consist of him wearing Virginia’s blue and orange colors on the sideline while his Washington State team competes against Arizona. The same will be the case for many of the men that worked on the Virginia staff under Mendenhall. Two of which are members on BYU’s support staff.

BYU football staffers will pay tribute

BYU’s Director of Player Personnel Justin Anderson, and Director of Recruiting Patrick Hickman, will also be sporting the “Sabre V.” The two men worked in similar roles at Virginia for the past six seasons.

Utah Tech assistant previously worked at Virginia

Same with Utah Tech Co-Defensive Coordinator Shane Hunter. Hunter was mentioned in Atuaia’s social media video. A former linebacker at BYU, Hunter, was the inside linebackers coach for the Cavaliers dating back to 2016.

“Since that tragic Sunday, we’ve been struggling,” said Atuaia in a social media video addressed to the Virginia football community. “And when I say ‘we,’ I speak of my brothers, your former coaches, that were there at UVa with you. We got together and came up with this idea, beginning Thursday with SMU and Tulane, and then all throughout Saturday, all of your coaches will be wearing the ‘V Sabres,’ dressed up as if we were coaching you back in Charlottesville. To honor Lavel, Devin, and D’Sean, and to let you know –everybody back in Charlottesville– that distance or institutional change will never sever the relationships that we’ve built.”

The University of Virginia will hold a public memorial service on Saturday to honor the lives of three men killed in the tragic shooting. Virginia’s football game against Coastal Carolina was canceled.

“While you’re sitting at home and at that memorial, we’ll be working, but know, our hearts will be intertwined,” said Atuaia.

Former BYU players and coaches paying tribute to the victims in Charlottesville

Many of the coaches that plan to participate in the tribute have strong ties to BYU. Former BYU players and coaches Robert Anae & Jason Beck (Syracuse), Kelly Poppinga (Boise State), and Vic So’oto (California). Former assistant Nick Howell (Vanderbilt).

BYU versus Utah Tech kicks off at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday for Senior Day at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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