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Kansas football coach implicated in player death takes new coaching job in Florida | KCUR 89.3

Although he was involved in the August 2021 death of a football player while serving as head coach at Fort Scott Community College, former head coach Carson Hunter has landed a new coaching job.

KCUR discovered that Hunter is now a part-time coach at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

“Staff were aware of the unfortunate death of a student-athlete at Fort Scott Community College,” Argonauts athletic director Dave Scott said in an email to KCUR.

WFU athletic department officials did not respond to questions about how they first learned of the death at the FSCC or whether they are concerned Hunter had contact with players given the incident at Fort Scott. They also declined to comment on whether his current position could lead to a full-time coaching job for Hunter.

Lineman dies after summer training

Tirrell Williams, 19, a Louisiana lineman, died last August after the team was forced to run sprints, based on interviews with players and coach at the time at FSCC.

Williams was loved by his teammates.

“This guy never stopped smiling. It could rain and it would literally be sunny,” said Fort Scott teammate Donald Harper. “There was no sadness in him. He was all joy.

A death certificate given to the family said he suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen, septic shock and muscle damage.

Sprints were not part of the planned pre-season training. Players interviewed by KCUR said the team was being punished because Hunter, a lawyer-turned-football coach, found a candy wrapper on the field.

Hunter essentially lost his job when the FSCC board abruptly eliminated the 93-year-old football program in November 2021. FSCC chairwoman Alysia Johnston denied that Williams’ death had anything to do with the end of college football, citing a lack of money instead. She also said the college was not guilty of Williams’ death.

“We couldn’t find anything from what we did that contributed to the very unfortunate and tragic death of the young man,” she told KCUR in December.

A lawyer for the Williams family said they sent a letter to the FSCC in April advising the college that legal action would most likely be taken.

A new coaching job in Florida

Emails and documents obtained by KCUR through the Florida Public Records Act show Hunter first had contact with West Florida head football coach Pete Shinnick in December, four months after Williams’ death.

“Have a great Christmas and if you’re looking for a place to land in the spring let me know,” Shinnick said in an email to Hunter. “I’d like to talk about it with you.”

Hunter signed his job application on January 11, 2022. He listed his duties at FSCC as “recruiting, developing and leading the football team.”

Hunter earns $10.25 an hour for 20 hours a week on a six-month renewable appointment, according to WFU.

The heat is dangerous for college athletes

Heat deaths are a problem in college sports.

In a November 2021 column, “The Heat Is On: Effortless Heatstroke in Football,In Current Sports Medicine Reports, former University of Oklahoma team physician Randy Eichner wrote, “In the span of just 2 months last summer, from late June to late August, nine football players collapsed and died. All nine were linemen. All nine were at the mercy of demanding coaches in brutal heat. All nine were teenagers.

The death at the FSCC was similar to that of Braeden Bradforth, who died of exertional heat stroke at Garden City Community College in 2018. Both players were 19 years old, both were black, and both were 6-foot-3 linemen weighing over 300 pounds.

Former GCCC head coach Jeff Sims is no longer in football. Sims is now the general manager of You Move Me, a franchise moving company in Lenexa, Kansas.

Sims left GCCC after the 2018 season and served as head coach at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin before being fired there in 2020.

GCCC settled with the Bradforth family in 2020 for $500,000, the maximum allowed by Kansas law.

The family recently settled a lawsuit against St. Catherine’s Hospital in Garden City, Kansas, one of its emergency department doctors, and Finney County Emergency Medical Services for an undisclosed sum.

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