Longtime LSU equipment manager dies of brain cancer

Updated: October 27, 2003, 7:20 PM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jeff Boss, the equipment manager for the LSU football team and the athletics department since 1980, died Monday after a 10-month battle with brain cancer. He was 54.

"A part of LSU died today," LSU Director of Athletics Skip Bertman said. "Jeff Boss was at the heart of everything that LSU stands for. His positive attitude each and every day of the year was an inspiration to everyone who crossed his path. He made LSU a better place to be."

Boss was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after the Tigers returned from the Cotton Bowl last January. A native of Lake Charles, La., and a graduate of McNeese State University, Boss was in his 24th season as LSU's equipment manager. He continued to work while undergoing treatment for his illness until June.

LSU honored Boss on Sept. 29 with a formal ceremony that officially named the locker room after him.

Fourteen of the student managers that worked under Boss went on to make it their profession. Student managers under Boss now work as full-time equipment managers at LSU, Oklahoma State, Tulane, Texas A&M, and Texas. Two are football operations directors at TCU and Clemson.

"Jeff Boss was the best at what he did," LSU coach Nick Saban said on Monday. "He was without a doubt one of the absolute best people that you'd ever meet."

Boss wasn't on the sidelines for LSU's game against Louisiana-Monroe to open the 2003 season, the first time he's missed an LSU game in 24 years. Two weeks later, Saban, along with a dozen football players, visited Boss at his home and presented him with a game ball from the Louisiana-Monroe contest.

LSU dedicated the 2003 season to Boss and will wear the letters "JB" on the backs of their helmets for the remainder of the season.

Boss is survived by his wife, Karen and daughter, B.J.

Visitation for Boss will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church on North Boulevard in downtown Baton Rouge. A memorial service will follow at 12:30 p.m. In of lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be sent to Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center or to the Hospice Foundation of Greater Baton Rouge.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index