|7 years after plane crash, Oklahoma State still remembers victims|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 27 January 2008 10:45|
``We all love you and miss you. Still.''
Oklahoma State assistant soccer coach Karen Hancock added a smiley face to the card, left with the flowers at a memorial in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of a plane crash in Colorado that killed 10 men associated with the Cowboys' basketball program, including Hancock's husband, Will.
It's not uncommon for fans to stop at the memorial before or after games to reflect, or even leave items, but visits peak each year around the anniversary date.
On Sunday, before the Oklahoma State women hosted Kansas State, wreaths and flowers covered the memorial, surrounding the sculpture of a kneeling cowboy at its center. One wreath had an orange ribbon containing a single word: ``Nate,'' in honor of player Nate Fleming, a crash victim.
Another set of roses came from Hancock's 7-year-old daughter, Andrea, who was 10 weeks old when her father died. ``To daddy with love'' read the card, signed with a childlike scrawl.
``It's a tough deal. It doesn't seem like it's been seven years,'' said Oklahoma State men's coach Sean Sutton, who was an assistant for his father, Eddie, at the time of the crash.
``It's just pretty emotional for the people that were a part of all that when it happened. Every year at this time, you think about it even more so. There's not really a day that I don't think about it in some way, but around this time of the year I think about it a lot more.''
The crash occurred Jan. 27, 2001, after the Cowboys had played at Colorado. The plane had taken off from the Jefferson County Airport outside Boulder, Colo., after the game and crashed a short time later about 40 miles east of Denver in a snow-covered pasture near the town of Strasburg.
Killed in the crash were players Fleming and Daniel Lawson, director of basketball operations Pat Noyes, publicist Hancock, trainer Brian Luinstra, manager Jared Weiberg, play-by-play announcer Bill Teegins, radio engineer Kendall Durfey and pilots Denver Mills and Bjorn Fahlstrom.
As it has in recent years, the university chose to take a low-key approach to commemorating the anniversary. At 6:37 p.m. CST, the time the crash occurred, plans were for the university's Library Carillon to toll 10 times in honor of each of those who died, as has been done each year since the crash.
David Bosserman, the university's vice president for administration, and his executive assistant, Nancy Horner, departed on Saturday for a memorial to the victims in Colorado, near the crash site. They planned to lay a wreath at the site, as they have done on each of the anniversaries.
Also part of the trip to Colorado was Richard Krysiak, the director of the university's physical plant. He was to perform maintenance and make improvements at the Colorado memorial site, which resembles the memorial at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Sunday was only the second time the Big 12 Conference had scheduled a basketball game at Oklahoma State on the crash anniversary. Both school teams played at home last season on the sixth anniversary, after the league checked with Oklahoma State officials.
M before the 14th-ranked Cowgirls played Sunday. Moments of silence - for those ``lost, but not forgotten,'' said public address announcer Larry Reece - were held before each game, with another scheduled to precede a wrestling match Sunday night with Iowa State.
Inside the arena, a banner listing the names of the 10 men, the date of the crash and the phrase ``We Remember'' hangs from the rafters.
At halftime of the game Saturday, a check for $20,000 for grief counseling was presented to the university on behalf of organizers of the first ``Remember The 10'' charitable run held last year. This year's race, featuring 10- and 5-kilometer runs, will be held on April 19.