It was a tragic week for the University of Maine community. Darius Minor was a young man with tremendous promise and potential. He was embarking on a new chapter of his life as an incoming freshmen, excited about the opportunities ahead as a Black Bear student athlete.
He passed away last week during a workout session. It’s unthinkable, but it happened. Informing Darius’ mother, Charity, was a call Head Coach Joe Harasymiak, never thought he’d have to make and certainly a call that no mother ever wants to receive.
There’s no playbook for navigating the waters following a tragedy such as this. But the University of Maine staff showed compassion and professionalism in the way they handled this situation. The first priority of course, was Darius’ family. After that it was tending to the young men in the program.
When something out of the ordinary like this happens everyone, particularly the media, comes calling. People have questions and it’s their/our job to gather answers. So there’s a swarm on campus during the toughest possible time for all involved. News trucks that have likely never even been to Orono parked outside the team offices – all wanting interviews.
So, Coach H and interim Athletic Director, Jim Settele, went in front of the cameras and answered all the questions they could and then returned their attention to those who most needed it.
I’m a UMaine grad. I’m a member of #BlackBearNation. I’m also a member of the media. At a time when the natural instinct is to shut the doors – they opened them. The UMaine folks knew that the close knit community of Maine football wanted to help them grieve and support them through this journey. So they took the lead, shared information and then came together again as a family knowing that they had the support to process their grief as needed.
I commend them for their class and dignity in the way they handled this situation.
Blog written by Brian Sullivan
Brian writes a blog for the Sports Chowdah. He works at WABI TV and is part of the Maine Football Radio broadcast team.