UConn cornerback Jasper Howard was laid to rest Monday afternoon in his hometown of Miami, another sobering reminder to his tragic death. While his family and the Husky community are no doubt still reeling, so too are his teammates and coaches, who become that second family for much of the year.
Saturday the UConn Hiskies took the field for the first time since a tragic stabbing took the life of cornerback Jasper Howard, and the emotions were still fresh. It was just one week prior that Head Coach Randy Edsall received the early morning phone call and was brought in to identify the body. It's the unfortunate duty of a coach, who becomes like family after leading his players through the trenches...
The day after the incident, Coach Edsall said, "As a coach, you go and recruit a kid, and you go into the home, and you tell the parents that you're going to take the most precious thing that they have, and give them an opportunity but watch over them. And they trust you."
That feeling of helplessness is one unfortunately shared by coaches across the nation, as they wrestle with trying to protect their players, yet knowing they can't be everywhere at all times. They just have to be there when the phone rings..
VSU Head Football Coach David Dean said, "We try and do a tremendous job as a coaching staff is make sure that these guys know that we appreciate everything that they do. That we love them like they're a part of our family. We're always going to be here if they ever have any trouble or they need to talk to somebody, our doors are always open."
FAMU Head Coach Joe Taylor added, "You really have to be careful as to where you are. You could have all good intentions, but make sure you surround yourself with folks that have good intentions as well. I tell folks, I'm scared of bears, so I don't go in the forest. It does grab you. It does tear away at you, because that's another young life that's been wasted."
A life that was remembered Saturday, as the healing process begins at the University of Connecticut.