After Plane Tragedy, an LSU Coach Made Son a Promise

Steve Ensminger promised his newly widowed son that he'd beat Oklahoma for him
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2019 7:11 AM CST
After Plane Tragedy, an LSU Coach Made Son a Promise
LSU Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger watches warm ups before the Peach Bowl between LSU and Oklahoma, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Atlanta. Ensminger's daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, died in a plane crash Saturday in Louisiana on the way to the game.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

A plane crash Saturday morning killed Steve Ensminger's daughter-in-law, sports reporter Carley McCord, on her way to cover the Peach Bowl he was set to coach Louisiana State University in that afternoon. The tragedy so devastated Ensminger's son, Steven, that he had to be rushed to the hospital and sedated. And so just before taking the field as offensive coordinator, the father called his son, and as Steven tells Sports Illustrated, he told him "'Son, you will get through this, it’s what we do. We face the darkest times in our lives and it’s what we do, we get through it. And I will take care of you and I’ll be there for you to keep you strong. You’re my one and only son, and my namesake and I love you and I can promise you we will get through this.'"

Then dad made his son a promise: "The team is behind you, these coaches are behind you, and we are about to go beat Oklahoma’s ass for you." The elder Ensminger delivered on his word: LSU's offense, with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow at the helm, utterly dismantled Oklahoma by a convincing score of 63-28. LSU team members found out about the news both before and after the game. "I immediately went over to coach, hugged him and told him I loved him," says senior Blake Ferguson. "He’s strong as hell for coaching in this game. We played for him and that family." (More Louisiana State Tigers stories.)

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