December 27, 1996 in Sports

Car Crash Kills Ewu Guard Mcclure Stepfather Also Dies In Accident Near Las Vegas’ Mccarron Airport

By The Spokesman-Review

Rodrick McClure, a starting point guard on the Eastern Washington basketball team, died early Thursday morning in a two-car accident near McCarron International Airport in his hometown of Las Vegas.

Members of the men’s basketball team huddled with coaches, counselors and school administrators late into the night Thursday in an attempt to deal with the death, reportedly caused by a drunken driver.

McClure’s stepfather, James Addison, also died in the accident, which occurred while the two were driving to the airport so McClure could catch a flight back to Spokane and rejoin his teammates in preparation for this weekend’s game against the University of Washington in Seattle.

The Nevada Highway Patrol, which investigated the accident, refused to release details, but Eagles head coach Steve Aggers said he learned from McClure’s mother, Hester, that the driver of the other vehicle was under the influence of alcohol.

“It’s a tragic, tragic loss,” said Aggers, who met with his players twice Thursday after they returned from a three-day Christmas break to resume practicing. “Rod was a bright young man with the rest of his life ahead of him, and to be taken away with this violent, senseless act by a driver under the influence of alcohol is incomprehensible.

“You can accept cancer and old age, but not this sudden act of violence.”

As a result of McClure’s death, the EWU-UW game that was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon was postponed until 1 p.m. Sunday to give McClure’s teammates an extra day to deal with the tragedy.

“They’re in shock right now,” Aggers said of his players, who met as a group with a school counselor after hearing of McClure’s death. “Everybody handles the grieving process differently, but right now they’re in total disbelief and shock.

“And some of them are angry.”

McClure, 21, was a first-year junior transfer who had started all nine of Eastern’s games this season and averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He was a 1994 graduate of Cimmaron Memorial High School in Las Vegas and played two seasons at Central Arizona College before transferring to EWU this fall.

EWU president Dr. Marshall Drummond expressed his sympathy to McClure’s family and the basketball team and called McClure “a fine young man who represented Eastern Washington University well.”

Aggers said funeral plans have not been finalized, but added that he will attend the services, along with team captain Travis King and, perhaps, McClure’s roommate and teammate Kevin Lewis.

The Eagles were to bus to Seattle this morning, weather permitting, to prepare for the UW game.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a solemn drive,” Aggers said. “But we just felt that getting everybody together on the bus would be sort of cathartic.”

Aggers said his players wanted to play the game as scheduled but agreed to postpone it 24 hours at his suggestion.

“We all know that life goes on and that games go on,” Aggers explained. “And that old cliche about ‘Rod would have wanted us to play’ is probably true.

“Our players all felt that way, but postponing (the game) until Sunday gives us at least one more day to deal with it, overcome the shock and try to circle the wagons, so to speak.

“Rod was an outstanding young man and a fine basketball player,” Aggers added. “Rod was the heart of our team, and this tragic event has taken that heart out of our basketball family. None of us will ever forget him. He will be a part of our lives forever.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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