LSU’s 63-28 win over Oklahoma in Saturday’s Peach Bowl (a College Football Playoff semifinal) came after some extremely difficult circumstances for members of the LSU team, particularly offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. Earlier in the day, Ensminger learned that his daughter-in-law, New Orleans sports reporter Carley McCord, was one of five people killed in a private plane crash in Lafayette, Louisiana en route to the game. Ensminger (seen above ahead of the game) opted to continue coaching, but he also delivered a powerful message to his son, Steven Ensminger Jr. (who was so shaken after learning of the loss of his wife that he was hospitalized Saturday) ahead of the game. Ensminger Jr. relayed that message to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated after the game, and Dellenger’s piece on that is worth reading in its entirety. Here’s a key part:
“I had talked to my mom crying and couldn’t get out words and same with my cousin who was my best man in our wedding,” Steven says. “The one voice that got on the phone with me that was clear and strong and supportive and confident while I was laying in that bed was my dad right before he walk out for warm-ups. I could barely speak. I couldn’t hold myself together and he said, ‘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.’”
After that, Ensminger went on to call an incredible, record-setting game (in conjunction with passing game coordinator Joe Brady). And head coach Ed Orgeron gave him the game ball afterwards, and he received a lot of hugs of support post-game:
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 29, 2019
This is obviously a tough time for the McCord and Ensminger families, as well as the families of the others killed and injured in this crash. But Dellenger’s article is a good look at what Ensminger’s encouragement meant to his son during this difficult time, and at what McCord meant to the many who knew her. Our thoughts go out to all affected by this crash as they try to move forward.