WASHINGTON, Pa. (Oct. 5, 2012) - Members of the Washington & Jefferson College campus community gathered at Henry Memorial Gym this morning at 9:15 a.m. to send off the Presidents’ football team to Crestview Hills, Ky., where it will face Thomas More College in a Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC) game tomorrow, Oct. 6, at 1:30 p.m.
Head Football Coach Mike Sirianni, who waved at the crowd before stepping onto one of the two coach buses for the five-hour trip to Kentucky, was met with a round of proud yet solemn applause from students, parents, faculty and staff.
This marked the second gathering in two days for the campus community who, just 14 hours earlier, congregated on the lawn in front of the campus Burnett Center at 7 p.m. to hold a memorial service for Tim McNerney, a senior from Butler, Pa., and star running back for the Presidents.
“This is a tragedy that cannot be explained. It is a tragedy we cannot even put into words,” W&J President Tori Haring-Smith said of McNerney’s loss. “I think what we need to remember is how Tim touched each of us, what he taught us, how he modeled for us the kind of person we all hope we can be.”
Teammates and classmates of McNerney took turns sharing favorite memories of their friend who was known campus-wide for his talents as a rapper as well as for his skills on the football field. McNerney ranked second in the PAC and 33rd in NCAA Division III in rushing this season with an average of 115.3 yards per game. For his career, he ranked among the top 10 running backs in College history with 2,336 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. McNerney scored at least one touchdown in 18 of the 25 games he suited up for in his No. 5 red-and-black uniform.
“Tim was a tremendous young man raised by a great family,” Sirianni said. “He is one of my favorite players I have ever coached and he obviously was a great player and a great leader. He led by example and will truly be missed not only by me but by our football team and everyone who played and competed against him because he was such a competitor.”
As the campus community continues to grieve McNerney’s loss, both counselors and security escorts are available to W&J students. This evening, the Student Christian Association is holding a time of prayer in the Old Main Chapel from 6-7:30 p.m. The College also has reserved two buses for 100 W&J students to attend the Thomas More game Saturday. Interested students can sign up outside The Commons starting at noon Friday and the buses leave campus Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m.