Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tragedy on Trevor's Last Day Playing Football


We knew that Trevor's last day playing football would be sad for us all.

Unfortunately, it was overshadowed by a tragic loss for the entire EIU Panther Nation.

(picture credit to Chelsea Grady/The Daily Eastern News)

EIU Assistant Coach, Jeff Hoover, was killed in an auto accident on his drive home from our game against Southern Illinois. He and his family along with Coach Eric Cash and his family were riding back from the game together when on Interstate 57 they swerved to miss a deer, and the vehicle they were in rolled. There were seven people in the vehicle total. We know that all were transported to local hospital, and then transferred to a hospital in Champaign. We understand that both Mrs Hoover and Mrs Cash have back/neck injuries and Eric has a broken leg. The Hoover kids apparently had minor injuries and either have already been released from the hospital or will be released shortly. Eric's little girl, the youngest in the vehicle, apparently was in a car seat/restraint and was not injured. This is the latest information we had from the players as of Sunday afternoon. There are also several reports such as this one online.

As is the way of the EIU Panther family, all of these family members were not only at the game Saturday but had been with us at the team Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday.

We know that Trevor's housemates, Chris and Kevin, who were both Offensive Linemen, were especially close to Coach Hoover since he was the Offensive Coach. I don't think there has been much sleeping in the house since yesterday's game. I know this has been especially tough on Kevin since after he had his eighth concussion, Coach Hoover was instrumental in moving Kevin off the field and over to his coaching staff, and was his primary mentor as he blossomed in that new role.

My last memory of Coach Hoover will be of the love and sincerity beaming in his face as, after their last game yesterday, he had handshakes, hugs and kind words for each of the seniors who were leaving the field with him for the last time. He wasn't shy with that big bear hug and you could see how much these guys meant to him. How ironic that he was focusing on them and their last day on the field when it turned out to be his last day on the field as well.

It is also ironic that earlier that day, there was an article in our local Quincy newspaper where Trevor talks about the good coaches and family atmosphere those coaches promoted as being the reason he was so happy at Eastern. Coach Hoover was a big part of that.

Coach Hoover was loved and deeply respected as a part of the foundation of the Panther Nation family. He had tremendous positive influence on so many of the young men we have grown to know and love these past three years. A man like Coach Hoover gives so much more to these guys than just what you see on the playing field.

It is so scary to drive in Illinois during deer hunting season. Ken and I were especially mindful of that fact in this 900+ miles of travels we've done this extended weekend since several years ago I totalled a car and a 6 point buck during deer season on the same highway we'd be travelling to and from Quincy. As a way to insure I was helping keep watch for deer on our trip home Thursday night I had counted 13 'stains' where there had been an obvious encounter between vehicle and animal in only about 20 miles of highway in Pike county area where I'd had my accident. We did see 4 live deer on the side of the road during that trip home but they didn't bolt in to the highway. When we are out at night or early mornings, or dusk we have made it a habit of keeping both of us watching the road and unfortunately this is a tragic reminder to do that. They say that if the deer runs in front of you its better to hit them than swerve, but I think its a natural instinct to react to avoid the impact. Unfortunately, the results are tragedies like the one here and we hear of several such fatal incidents every year. Amazing that in our advanced technological society we cannot device a mean to keep an otherwise harmless animal off of our highways.

Our hearts go out to Coach Hoover's family and Coach Cash's family in this difficult time.

I'll fill in the good blog stuff for the past week later....just didn't seem to fit today.

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We saw this "news" come across the screen as we were watching a different game and immediately thought of you and your boys. What a tragic thing to happen. Our thoughts are with their families as well as yours.