KANSAS CITY, MO (KSNT) – On April 28th, Washburn football player Dwane Simmons was tragically killed, but his legacy will live on.
“Game by game we’re gonna have different guys wear his number and represent him. He’ll obviously be in our hearts, coaches, players, trainers, anyone involved in the university,” said Washburn head coach Craig Schurig.
“Dwane was such a special character, special individual, that you don’t meet too many people like that,” said teammate and fellow defensive back Josh Wright.
The Univerity is also taking steps to honor Simmons.
“One of the things the university has done is he’ll get his degree in December, his degree will be rewarded in December to his family and that’s special, and he was right on pace to get his mass media degree.” said Schurig.
Washburn is also launching an endowed scholarship in his name.
“That will pay out scholarship to similar kids to him forever, so his legacy will live on,” says Schurig.
ASchurig believes Dwane will continue to inspire the team.
“His enthusiasm, love for the game, love for teammates, love for practice, I think that will be motivating.”
The team is also drawing inspiration from Simmons’ best friend Corey Ballentine. Ballentine survived the shooting and his making a strong impression in the NFL with the New York Giants.
“His pure heart of how much he loved Dwane. I think that helps everybody and he’s inspiring how well he’s doing in New York in one of the media capitals of the world,” said Schurig.
“I check the New York Giants social media every day looking to see what plays he’s making,” says offensive lineman Kyle Hinton.
“Corey’s getting balls thrown at him. It looks like he’s having a lot of fun, flying around, having fun, smiling,” says Wright.
And through tragedy, the community came together.
“I was proud of Topeka and we’re still working on it. It’s a work in progress, and we hope to improve the neighborhoods and all that, but the Topeka police, the district attorney, and how the community in itself just rallied,” said Schurig.
“All the support that we’ve gotten from the city, everybody around Washburn, even nationwide, it’s really crazy. It says a lot about the city, says a lot about just people in general and people are pretty good,” added Wright.