Almost everyone in the Rattler family has a certain amount of disdain for Bethune-Cookman College and its head football coach Alvin Wyatt.
But this weekend all the animosity should be set aside for Wyatt and his team as they prepare to play Grambling State without freshman offensive lineman Kovensky Pierre.
No, Pierre isn’t hurt or ineligible-as some would hope-he’s dead.
He died Tuesday afternoon in a car accident off Interstate 295 in Jacksonville, returning to campus from, of all places, Tallahassee.
It’s sad that in some way, I expect to hear of a student’s death every time there is an extended break from classes. To hear of a student’s death is always sad, but the way in which Pierre’s death occurred has made me look in the mirror and wonder if a driver like myself left Ann Marie Pierre without a son and his high school teammate Willie Jackson in the hospital.
I-295 isn’t an intimidating road to drive on by any sense of the imagination, but when you have cars traveling at 95 miles per hour-as I frequently do when on the interstate-it can become a graveyard.
What makes the news of Pierre’s death so tough to swallow is that Wyatt probably told Pierre to be careful driving on the highway, especially with the inclement weather the Florida panhandle has had in the past week. Even more tragic than Wyatt’s almost certain warning was that Pierre called the B-CC coaching staff Monday to tell them he would be arriving in Daytona Beach a day late because of car troubles.
Before my adventure as a walk-on to our football team I was always under the assumption that coaches-especially football coaches-did not care about their players once they took off their jerseys or once they left campus. But Wyatt, along with the FAMU coaching staff, opened my eyes to the special bond coaches have with their players.
Which is why someone can’t help but feel bad for him and his coaching staff, being that they found out the news of his death from his mother after not hearing from Pierre Tuesday.
In an interview, Wyatt said his entire coaching staff is disheartened and confused about the accident and finding the whole situation difficult to comprehend. Such feelings would be expected from Pierre’s head coach, but when those feelings resonate down to a stoic guy like myself, its just plain sad.
The headline will read B-CC football player dies in car accident, but the headline only begins to tell how much of an impact Pierre had on the world, on and off the football field.
Will Brown is junior broadcast journalism major from Rocklege. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.