Tragedy struck Illinois State University back in April when a plane carrying two school employees who were working the Final Four crashed and claimed the lives of seven, including deputy AD Aaron Leetch and men’s basketball associate head coach Torrey Ward.
This past Saturday, as was reported by the university, the Redbird Remembrance memorial was opened to the public. It consists of seven columns in a fountain, plus a plaque with the names of the seven who lost their lives. AD Larry Lyons offered more in a statement.
“We felt that we had a duty to honor these men, support their families and strengthen the Redbird bond,” Illinois State AD Larry Lyons said in the release. “The permanency of the memorial is to honor their legacy with dignity and respect, and we believe the design is comforting and peaceful. We picked this location so that it is accessible to the families, the campus and the community to reflect and remember.”
It may not seem like much, but this is a wonderful gesture on the university’s part. Illinois State could have just honored Leetch and Ward, but instead chose to recognize the pilot and the others who were in the small aircraft.
The Redbirds may not have made the NCAA Tournament since 1998, but perhaps some good karma is in store for the program after this memorial unveiling
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports