On April 9, former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot and killed in New Orleans. At the time, he was in an executive MBA program for artists and athletes at the University of Miami.

Less than a month after his death, Smith was posthumously awarded his degree by the university. His wife Raquel attended the ceremony in his honor to accept the degree for him.

Raquel herself was also injured in the shooting. She was shot in both legs and is in a wheelchair at the moment. After the ceremony, the Saints tweeted a video showing their support of Smith and his wife.

The 18-month program teaches “accomplished individuals with strong personal brands how to leverage their current career achievements into business success,” according to the school’s website. To find a player who completed both his undergraduate degree, as Smith did in 2005 in criminology from Ohio State, and worked towards a graduate degree is not common.

Cardell Hayes, the man accused of killing Smith, whom he shot eight times, is facing second-degree murder charges. The defense’s attorney is claiming that Hayes was a victim of a hit-and-run that night and not the aggressor. CNN is reporting that after the two exchanged words, shots were fired. The next hearing is set for June 3.


About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.