TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Tuesday marked the one year anniversary since Washburn football player Dwane Simmons was tragically killed. Coach Craig Schurig and members of the Washburn football team released balloons into the sky at Yager Stadium on Tuesday night to honor his life.
“As you can tell on the video board that his smile can light up a stadium, light up a room. We miss him every day,” said Washburn head coach Craig Schurig.
The Washburn community was devastated when Simmons lost his life the same night he celebrated his friend and teammate Corey Ballentine getting drafted to the NFL.
“That was one of our close friends,” said teammate Channon Ross who was with Simmons and Ballentine on the night of the shooting. “He was one of the leaders on the team, so it meant a lot to me personally to let that balloon go. It was one of my brothers.”
“A lot of people in this community were touched by him,” added teammate Collin Wilson.
Dwane was known for his lively personality that drew people in.
“He’s somebody who didn’t sit on the sidelines and watch life, he attacked it,” said Schurig.
“His character, his laugh, his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, and was just a good guy. He got along with everybody,” added Wilson.
After the fall semester, Washburn honored Simmons with a degree in mass media.
“I thought it was amazing,” said Ross.
“That was something that he’s worked very hard for and it was well deserved and that’s the way he approached everything. School wasn’t easy for him, but he just kept grinding,” said Schurig.
Washburn is also celebrating Simmons with an endowed scholarship in his name and his legacy will live on.
“He’s a part of us everyday,” said Schurig.
Simmons’ family also released balloons on Tuesday night in memory of Dwane.