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Friends, Teammates & Coaches Mourn Grant
Posted May 24, 2005
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy did a smart thing and placed Cowboy players in Stillwater and OSU assistant coaches off limits to the media after learning of the death of Vernon Grant. Gundy made a statement that was released through the school before he made his way back to Stillwater from the Big 12 meetings in Colorado Springs, Colo. Gundy was in Colorado Springs as part of the Big 12 meetings, but he returned to Stillwater as soon as he heard the news of Grant's passing.
The coaching staff spent much of Tuesday on the phone informing Grant's teammates of the tragedy as most of the squad is at home before reporting back to Stillwater for the start of the summer strength and conditioning program on June 6.
There are about 20 players in Stillwater for intersession courses that are going on between the end of the spring semester and the start of the first summer school session. Many of the players on campus spent time Tuesday in both the football office and the academic offices of Marilyn Middlebrook and Terry Henley. Middlebrook said hat players were coming to visit her one or two at a time. She said she was encouraging those players to remember the way Grant lived his life on and off the field and to use the standout student-athlete's passion and enthusiasm he showed in everything he did as an example.
"The best way to honor Vernon if for all of us to live as he did," said Middlebrook. "Vernon was always trying to do the right thing and take care of his business on and off the field. He was respected and admired by every one of his teammates."
The reaction to the death of Grant came from outside Stillwater as well. Former Oklahoma State player and ex-assistant coach Josh Henson, now at LSU, said the former Cowboy coaches were devastated over the loss of Grant.
"You just don't know why," said Henson. "He had so much to give and to lose Vernon Grant at this time, you just don't see how losing a young man of his high quality could make sense."
Henson added that former OSU head coach Les Miles and his entire family were taking the news hard. Former OSU assistants Larry Porter and Todd Monken were upset and former OSU secondary coach Doug Mallory, who had a close relationship with Grant, was distraught over the news. Henson added that he thought all of the former OSU assistant coaches would be attending the funeral whenever it was to take place.
Former Cowboy cornerback Darrent Williams said he first heard of the death of his close friend Tuesday morning while on his way to off-season meetings and a workout with the Denver Broncos.
"When I woke up this morning I saw all these missed calls from former teammates," said Williams by phone from Denver. "I returned one of the calls on my way to practice at about 6 a.m. and when Trumain (Carroll) told me I just went numb and pulled the car over and broke down. All day long it has been unreal. I just keep seeing my friend and hearing his voice. I can't stop thinking about V.G."
Williams went on to say this about his good friend and former teammate.
"He was so easy to get along with," added Williams. "That big old smile he had and no one that knew him can say a bad thing about V.G. There was nothing bad about him. He was a great friend and a great teammate. I owe a lot of my success to him. When I would get mad he would calm me down. A couple of times I wanted to quit and he would be the guy that would talk me out of it. He was a teammate, a close friend. He was like family to me. It's not real. I still can't believe it."
Williams said he and Denver Broncos teammate Tatum Bell, also a former teammate of Grant's at OSU, were both were both planning to attend Grant's funeral.
Wednesday's OSU News Links
May 25, 2005
We Need To Remember the Vernon Grants
May 24, 2005
Dunford's Deep 20: James Aldridge
May 25, 2005
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