Navy tackle McCray, 20, dies while playing pickup basketball

June 07, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Jason McCray, a projected sophomore starter this season at defensive tackle for the Naval Academy football team, died Friday night playing in a pickup basketball game at the First District Coast Guard Station in Boston.

The cause of death has yet to be determined. McCray, 20, was participating in a mandatory summer cruise to Boston with eight of his football teammates. After collapsing on the court, Coast Guard personnel and medics from the Boston Fire Department tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

McCray was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was pronounced dead at 9: 15 p.m.

A native of Fresno, Calif., McCray and his family had moved to the Houston area four years ago. He was recruited out of Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, by linebacker coach Tommy Raye.

Last season, McCray and defensive end Brad Winsatt were the only two freshmen to see extensive playing time. McCray served as a backup to David Viger and was credited with 17 tackles in 11 games.

"He was real quiet, but always smiling, and you could see what a great love he had for football," coach Charlie Weatherbie said.

"It's a tremendous loss to our team and the entire Naval Academy. I have sons of 20 and 19 myself, I know what a tragedy this is."

Weatherbie said McCray worked hard in the off-season to improve his skills.

"He was an incredibly hard worker who possessed great quickness and a nose for the ball," Weatherbie said. "He had a great spring practice and was really looking forward to the start of the fall season."

Pub Date: 6/07/98

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