Today we learned the upsetting news that Donny Everett, a rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University and pitcher for the Vanderbilt Commodores, drowned yesterday afternoon while he was fishing. Multiple members of the Vanderbilt team, the SEC, and even the NCAA have offered their condolences to Donny’s family and friends.
Who Was He?
Donny was a well-liked student athlete for the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team. He’s a Clarksville, Tennessee native who was also considered one of the top MLB prospects.
The right-handed freshman was going to be an integral part of Vanderbilt’s run to the College World Series.
As if the death of a young man with a bright future wasn’t bad enough, the circumstances surrounding his death sound particularly awful. From the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department:
“Everett, a baseball player at Vanderbilt University had come to Normandy Lake to fish with 2 teammates and 2 other people. According to all four individuals Everett was on the west side of the bridge with one of his friends when he entered the water and attempted to swim across to the east. They stated that Everett got about halfway across the waterway when he began asking for help. All four individuals stated that they thought Everett was “just joking around” because he was smiling and did not seem to be in distress.
One person did enter the water and pulled Everett several feet but stated that he is not a good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat. He stated that Everett did not seem to be struggling. The friend stated that he let go of Everett and swam back to shore still thinking Everett was “joking”. He stated that when he looked back, Everett had gone under and did not re-surface. [source]”
I think it goes without saying that these young men should not be too hard on themselves for Donny’s death, but I don’t think that will help them very much moving forward. More than likely Thursday afternoon is a day these four friends will be dealing with for the rest of their lives. That’s the kind of situation I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.
But again, kids love to joke around about all sorts of things–it’s not unheard of that a fun-loving guy like Donny would horse around like this. So we’re just hoping this story doesn’t get any worse and that these four get some therapy and counseling as quickly as possible.
Response To Donny’s Death
As you can imagine, there’s been an outpouring of support for the Everett family and for his friends.
Here’s the official statement from Vanderbilt director of athletics David Williams:
“We learned last night of the tragic death of Donny Everett, an outstanding young man who exemplified the best of our university. As you can imagine, the team, the athletic department and the university are trying to come to terms with this tragedy. His parents and loved ones are on our minds and in our prayers as we share in their grief.”