OSU’s Coger died after stairs workout in heat
STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State basketball player Tyrek Coger died after a team workout on the football stadium stairs during warm temperatures, university officials said Friday.
Coger, 21-year-old forward who had recently transferred to OSU, did not appear to be struggling during Thursday’s workout at Boone Pickens Stadium, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said Friday at a news conference. Afterward, Coger sat down and when the team went to check on him, they noticed there were issues.
The team called 911 and paramedics arrived at 5:08 p.m. Coger arrived at Stillwater Medical Center at 5:48 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m., Shutt said.
Shutt also said that under NCAA rules, basketball teams can meet for eight hours a week during the summer.
“Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy,” coach Brad Underwood said Thursday. “Losing a member of the team is like losing a member of the family. But we know our loss pales in comparison to the pain his family is going through,”
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Coger’s death is the latest tragedy for OSU. Last fall, a driver crashed into a crowd at Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade, killing four spectators and wounding dozens. In 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others died in a plane crash in western Arkansas. And in 2001, 10 people died in a Colorado plane crash, including two men’s basketball players and six staff members.
In an interview with the Stillwater paper published earlier this month, Coger spoke of frequent headaches that plagued him during his high school days. He said he underwent surgery several years ago to drain fluid from around his brain.
“At the moment, I’m thinking ‘Basketball is over,’” he told the newspaper, recalling his feelings at the time of the surgery. “‘I gotta think beyond basketball now.’”
Coger, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, said in the interview that he recuperated from the surgery then started his college career at Eastern Florida State College. He transferred after one season to Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he played last season.
The 6-foot-8 player then initially signed with Ole Miss last fall but opted for Oklahoma State after the Southeastern Conference ruled he was ineligible because of rules on junior college transfers.
In 2012, Coger played a friendly game of one-on-one with Washington Wizards star John Wall, who posted a photo of the matchup on Instagram following Coger’s death. Wall wrote: “Rest in Peace to the lil homie who always had the competitive spirt.. you will be missed Tyrek.”
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The teams aren’t vying to one up the other in the rankings or looking to get a leg up in the league standings this fall, but that will hardly make the stakes any less meaningful for Basalt and Glenwood Springs high schools when they meet on the football field Friday night.