Kendall Durfey   Brian Luinstra
Bjorn Fahlstrom   Denver Mills
Nate Fleming   Pat Noyes
Will Hancock   Bill Teegins
Daniel Lawson   Jared Weiberg
 
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I'm Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free; I'm following the path God laid for me. I took His hand when I heard Him call; I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day, to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way; I found that peace at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, oh yes, these things I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow; I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life's been full, I've savored much; good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief; don't lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your heart and share with me; God wanted me now, He set me free.

Read by Andre Williams at Memorial Service

This was supposed to be a day of Super Bowl revelry in this college town, with the only worry being whether stores would run out of popcorn, beer and peanuts.

Instead, the mood Sunday was as cold and dreary as the rain soaking the streets following the crash of a small airplane bringing people home from Oklahoma State's basketball game against Colorado.

"It's like a part of the school died," said Justin Battista, a freshman walking in the rain toward Sunday morning Mass.

Ten people were killed in Saturday's crash in a field 40 miles east of Denver, including two reserve basketball players and six staffers and broadcasters. The pilot and co-pilot also were killed.

There was no distress call from the crew before the crash, said Arnold Scott of the National Transportation Safety Board.

At Eskimo Joes, a normally rowdy off-campus hangout, one student couldn't keep from crying as she seated the few customers who came in on the quiet morning. At a bagel shop near campus, there was no laughter.

"Everyone is pretty melancholy," freshman Chris Shumake said. "They're just walking around like zombies, sort of. You hear of airplane crashes like in Europe and overseas, but you never think of it hitting home."

The hostess at Eskimo Joes, student Crystal Kelso, knew the two players who died, Dan Lawson Jr. and Nate Fleming.

"Nate, he was that walk-on that everybody wants to see get in the game," she said. "I just remember chanting his name a couple weeks ago so they would put him in the game."

Kelso said Fleming planned to help her start a community outreach program with other student athletes. Fleming, who also excelled academically, was going to talk to young athletes about staying out of trouble.

She said Lawson was a good friend, even though they didn't always get along.

"It's always hard when you didn't get a chance to say goodbye, or didn't get a chance to say sorry for yelling at you a day ago or whatever," she said.

Katie McCollon, a high school senior who also attends Oklahoma State, said she and her parents knew many of those killed.

"I grew up in Stillwater," she said. "OSU is like three blocks from my house. It's really close to home. OSU basketball is one of the highlights of the year for my family."

The school's game at Texas Tech on Tuesday night was postponed indefinitely. The Big 12 Conference said no decision has been made on other Oklahoma State games.

Sports information director Steve Buzzard said he expected the other players would spend the day in seclusion.

"I would be remiss to tell you I know what they're doing today because it's a private time," he said. "They were together last night for most of the night and I would guess they'd be together today."

The campus woke up slowly Sunday, although Sara Byerly was up earlier than most to attend church and check her e-mail at the library.

"Everybody is going to go back to life," she said. "But there are some people who are pretty upset still."

By Jennifer Brown
Associated Press Writer

Two Oklahoma State basketball players and six staffers and broadcasters associated with the team were killed aboard a plane that crashed in a snowstorm Saturday while returning from a game in Colorado, officials said.

The plane crashed about 20 miles south of Denver after taking off from Jefferson County Airport, FAA spokesman John Clabes said. The pilot and co-pilot also died.

Oklahoma State players Nate Fleming and Dan Lawson, sports information employee Will Hancock, director of basketball operations Pat Noyes, trainer Brian Luinstra, student manager Jared Weiberg, broadcast engineer and OSU employee Kendall Durfey, broadcaster Bill Teegins, pilot Denver Mills and co-pilot Bjorn Falistrom were aboard the plane, OSU sports information director Steve Buzzard said during a news conference in Stillwater.

"The players are handling this with each other and obviously are grieving very deeply," Buzzard said.

Buzzard said coach Eddie Sutton called the families of those on the plane to let them know of the crash.

"Obviously like everyone, Coach Sutton is stunned. But his concern obviously was getting in touch with family members and then obviously getting the help and support that everyone will need that's associated with the program," Buzzard said.

Big 12 officials will meet Sunday morning to discuss whether to postpone OSU's Tuesday night game at Texas Tech. Weiberg was the nephew of Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg.

"This is indeed a very sad day for Oklahoma State University," school president James Halligan said.

The Beechcraft King Air 200 Catpass, which seats 11 passengers, crashed at about 5:35 p.m., said Jerry Snyder, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Fleming was a redshirt freshman guard from Edmond, Okla., and Lawson a redshirt junior guard from Detroit.

Lawson, 21, played in Saturday's 81-71 loss at Colorado, but did not score. He was one of the Cowboys' main reserves, playing in every game this season and averaging about two points. Fleming, 20, did not play against Colorado.

Teegins, 48, was a broadcaster for KWTV in Oklahoma City for the past 13 years. He was the play-by-play announcer for OSU basketball.

Hancock, was the media relations coordinator for the basketball program. He had been with the school for five years and was a graduate of the University of Kansas. His father, Bill Hancock, is director of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

In Stillwater, several players and girlfriends of teammates came in and out of the school's basketball office with tears in their eyes, and some were sobbing.

Tom Dirato of the OSU Broadcast Group said he and an assistant coach almost got on the plane that crashed, but were moved at the last minute to another plane.

"This is part of a family in the athletic department. If anything like this happens it affects many, many people."

In Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board said a team headed by board member John Hammerschmidt would fly to Colorado on Sunday morning to initiate the agency's investigation of the crash.

"Tragedies catch you off guard and by surprise," Colorado basketball coach Ricardo Patton told KCNC-TV. "But you know I put my faith in God so every time we board the planes I think it's his will whether or not we make it back safely. My prayers go out to the families and Oklahoma State University."

By Nick Wadhams
Associated Press Writer

 

 

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