LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and his family suffered a tragic loss on Saturday with the death of his son's wife, Carley McCord, just hours before the Tigers took the field to face the Oklahoma Sooners in the Peach Bowl.
McCord, 30, was one of five people killed in a plane crash on Saturday morning en route to Atlanta, where LSU's game was being held. Witnesses stated that the plane, which was attempting to return to the airport from which it took off, appeared to strike power lines and collided with vehicles in the parking lot of a local post office before being engulfed in flames. A sixth passenger on the plane survived and has been listed in critical condition.
The news of McCord's death was so shocking to her husband, Steven Ensminger Jr., that he had to be rushed to the hospital and sedated — but he was later able to watch LSU's game and, in text messages with Sports Illustrated, recall details of his phone call with his father and the final time his wife attempted to contact him.
Ensminger Jr. revealed that McCord had texted and called him earlier in the day while he was at work, but that he missed both because he didn't have his phone on him.
"One of the hardest things I'm dealing with is that I missed her text and I missed her call," Ensminger Jr. told Sports Illustrated. "It is by far the most pain, angst and terror and just darkest time of my life, and I honestly don’t know how long it will last because I still don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it."
McCord's final text to her husband simply said, "I love you."
"It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I finally fall asleep," Ensminger Jr. told ABC News. "Every once in a while throughout the day, I find myself grabbing my phone and sending a text to her phone replying, 'I love you too.'"
McCord was a reporter for WDSU, an NBC affiliate in New Orleans, as well as an in-game host for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA. The Pelicans hosted a moment of silence for McCord prior to their game on Saturday.