<
>

School deals with 'shock and horror' of student death

10/24/2005 - College Football

MORRIS, Minn. -- A memorial service will be held this week
for a University of Minnesota-Morris student who died after football
players and fans exhilarated by a double-overtime homecoming win
pulled down a goal post.

Richard Thomas Rose, 20, a junior from Benton City, Wash., who
played on the men's basketball team, was pronounced dead at a
hospital Saturday after attempts to revive him on the field failed,
school officials said. No one else was hurt.

Results of a coroner's investigation to determine the exact
cause of death are expected Monday, but Chancellor Sam Schuman said
the presumption was that Rose was hit by the goal post.

Patrick Van Zandt, a junior from St. Paul, said he was standing
at the front of the stadium when he saw a Morris player grab a
sledge hammer from under the bench and uniformed team members run
to the goal post.

"It started out with a few standing or hanging on it, then a
big crowd surrounding it. They rocked it up and down and the metal
started to bend, until the point it snapped," Van Zandt told The
Associated Press.

"The crowd cheered. I was looking and then saw someone on the
ground with the pole laying on top of them," he said.

Chancellor Samuel Schuman, who also was at the game, said the
majority of those involved in pulling down the goal post were fans.

"There may have been a couple of members of the team, but
majority were fans. It was not the team," Schuman said.

Van Zandt said it took several people to lift the goal post off
Rose.

"They did CPR for at least 10 minutes, then put him on the
stretcher and put him in the ambulance," he said.

Morris had just defeated Crown College 34-28 in double overtime
and the stands were full, with about 1,000 fans watching the last
football game at Cougar Field. The Cougars move to a new stadium
next season.

"A lot of us are still dealing with the suddenness of that
shift from excited happiness to shock and horror," Schuman said.

"It was maybe the most exciting game we've had on that field in
my memory," said Athletic Director Mark Fohl. "It was very
exciting and then, very quiet."

Schuman said there would be a memorial service on campus early
in the week, but the day and time hadn't been set Sunday night. The
school also will offer counseling to students, staff and faculty.

Minnesota-Morris is a public liberal arts school of about 1,700
students in west-central Minnesota, about 135 miles northwest of
Minneapolis.