Steve Ensminger, the offensive coordinator for LSU, lost his daughter-in-law in a plane crash on December 28, 2019, and the emotional toll was visible at the Peach Bowl game between LSU and Oklahoma. However, he soldiered on to the great admiration of fans.
That’s the game that Carley McCord and four other people lost their lives trying to get to when their small plane crashed earlier in the day shortly after taking off from the Lafayette, Louisiana airport.
McCord, who was married to Ensminger’s son, was a freelance sports reporter with WDSU-TV and in-game host for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. She had a rising career as a journalist before losing her life in the plane crash.
McCord was only 30 years old. Her husband confirmed her death to The Associated Press. The other four victims were associated with Global Data Systems, a company in Lafayette.
“Carley McCord was a Baton Rouge native who held a close connection with those at #LSU, even before she wed Steven Ensminger Jr,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. “Many with the program are crushed. There are tears during pregame.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Steve Ensminger Was Seen With Tears in His Eyes When He Left the Locker Room
Ensminger wiped away tears and was embraced by LSU’s quarterback at the game. LSU head coach Ed Orgeron broke the news to Ensminger that his daughter-in-law had died, according to ESPN.
WVLA sports director Brian Holland described to CNN how people were giving Steve Ensminger hugs to offer him support and how he came out of the locker room with “tears in his eyes” and was “emotional” on the field. “He’s not one to usually wear his emotions on his sleeve, but he certainly has today,” said Holland.
Several players embraced Ensminger.
LSU trounced Oklahoma.
People offered praise that Ensminger was still coaching despite the tragedy.
McCord had expressed pride about Steve’s accomplishments on Facebook, writing, “That’s my father-in-law ?? #SOPROUD.”
McCord and the others were traveling to see the Peach Bowl when the plane crashed near Lafayette, WDSU-TV reported. On LinkedIn, Carley described herself as “Sideline Reporter/Radio Host/Broadcast Professional.” A Baton Rouge native, McCord held a variety of positions in sports journalism over the years. The plane crash’s cause is not yet clear.
According to The Associated Press, the small plane “crashed into the parking lot of a post office in Louisiana shortly after takeoff on Saturday,” December 28, 2019.
Five people died. A car on the ground burst into flames. The plane crashed about 1 mile from Lafayette Regional Airport and it was going to a “college football playoff game in Atlanta between Louisiana State University and Oklahoma,” according to the AP.
The other victims were named by WAFB-TV as: Ian E. Biggs, the plane’s pilot, age 51; Robert Vaughn Crisp II, age 59; Gretchen D. Vincent, age 51; and Michael Walker Vincent, age 15. Stephen Wade Berzas, 37, was a passenger in the plane but survived and was taken to the hospital. Crisp, Berzas, and Biggs were all affiliated with a Lafayette company named Global Data Systems, and Vincent and Michael were the wife and son of that company’s president. You can see a roundup of tributes to each victim here.
AP reported that the plane clipped a power line at an apartment complex before crashing. According to WAFB-TV, the aircraft was a “Piper Fixed Wing Multi-Engine aircraft.” That station reported that the plane crashed into an open field around 9 a.m.
“The NTSB is investigating today’s crash in Lafayette, LA involving a Piper PA-31T,” the NTSB wrote on Twitter. According to KLFY, the plane was owned by Cheyenne Partners, LLC, and was headed to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Ga., but “only achieved an altitude of around 375 feet before crashing.”
On Facebook, Steve Ensminger Jr. filled his page with photos showing him with Carley. His page says he studied at Louisiana Tech University, went to West Monroe High School, was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and lived in Baton Rouge.
People filled Ensminger’s Facebook page with condolences after Carley’s death. On Twitter, Ensminger once shared a wedding photo and wrote, “I can’t say enough about this girl! I’m the luckiest man in the world to finally call her my wife! She is my world and she has my heart forever! I love you Carley! @CarleyMcCord #justmarried #happilyeverensminger.”
According to The Advocate, McCord was a “2007 St. Michael graduate and Miss Louisiana runner up for 2011 and 2012.”
She married her husband in 2018, the newspaper reported.
McCord Worked as a Freelance Sideline & Sports Reporter Who Was an In-Game Host for the New Orleans Saints
On LinkedIn, Carley gave these positions: sideline/field reporter for Cox Sports Television & ESPN, doing “In-game TV sideline reporter for professional and college sports.” She also wrote that she was “in-game host” since 2017 for the New Orleans Saints. “Host of games, information and promotions during the games. Also responsible for hosting events and community functions held within the organization,” she wrote.
In addition, she was “in-game host” for the New Orleans Pelicans. “Live arena host during game time. Responsible for hosting promotions, games and in-game information. Also responsible for hosting events held within the organization.”
For WDSU, she wrote that she was “responsible for reporting on local and national sports headlines. I work with local colleges and professional teams to provide coverage on their games and events.”
On LinkedIn, she indicated that she was previously on-air talent/reporter for Guaranty Media in Baton Rouge, where she was “co-host of “He Said, She Said” on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge. Mid-day host on 100.7 The Tiger.” She was a CBS Radio on-air personality in Cleveland. She worked as a co-host for NFLVR Live! for the Cleveland Browns. She was a Tiger TV Sports Showtime reporter.
As for the latter position, she wrote: “Responsible for reporting on LSU athletics. Work with producers to determine story topics. Operate cameras and shoot various LSU sporting events. Attend press conferences and practices. Interview athletes and coaches. Appear on air to analyze sport topics and deliver information.”
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