University Of Dayton Basketball Player Steve McElvene Dies At 20

A University of Dayton basketball player who set the school record for blocks in his sophomore season collapsed and died on Thursday. He was 20-years-old. The Allen County Coroner’s Office confirmed, Steve McElvene, died at 11:19 a.m. on Thursday.

Several coaches told WANE-TV that he collapsed around 11 a.m. at his parents’ home. Some suspect his death is the result of a heart condition. However, the cause of death has not been confirmed.

Dan Curran, president of the University of Dayton sent a statement to students, faculty, and staff.

“I am writing to share the sad news of the death of a member of our campus community. Steve McElvene, a second-year student and member of the men’s basketball team, passed away Thursday in his hometown of New Haven, Indiana.”

He was in New Haven visiting his former high school to speak to at-risks teens about the importance of academics. McElvene sat out his freshman year due to academics but worked hard to improve. At six-foot-11, he arrived at Dayton weighing over 300 pounds but dropped nearly 60 pounds to begin the 2015-16 basketball season.

Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade described McElvene as “an exceptional young man with a bright future, both on the basketball court and in life.”

McElvene attended New Haven High School during his junior and senior year after moving from Alabama. As a senior he averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks per game. He also set Dayton’s single-season record for blocks with 55 during his sophomore year.

“We are devastated at this news,” Dayton Flyers head coach Archie Miller said in a statement. “Any death is a tragedy, but for someone so young who worked so hard to have his dreams within reach, it’s hard to put into words how painful this is. Our hearts and prayers go out to Steve’s family. My family, our team and our staff will have to pull together, not only in support of Steve’s family, but in support of each other at this terrible time.”

CBS Sports reported that McElvene helped lift Dayton to number seven in the NCAA Tournament. Steve was also ranked a top-10 player coming out of Indiana in 2014 and a Notre Dame standout.

Nicknamed “Big Steve” his former teammate and friend V.J. Beachem said if there was one way to describe him it would be “big.”

“Everything as far as his personality… he was a big guy, big smile, big future,” said Beachem.

Beachem played basketball with McElvene at New Haven High School. They won the Sectional Championship together. Beachem plays basketball for Notre Dame now but they remain close friends.

“I played with Steve last night and the night before,” he said. “When I found out today I didn’t believe it. I had to make sure from multiple people that it was true. And you know even now, it still hasn’t even hit me yet.”

New Haven coach Adrian Gatewood said McElvene worked very hard to accomplish his position in life.

“Some people might have thought that because he’s a 6’11 high school kid it’s going to be easy for him,” said Gatewood. “It wasn’t easy but Steve kept fighting. He kept working.”

His hard work paid off and landed him the opportunity to play for the renowned University of Dayton. Team members remember him on social media by posting their condolences and sharing videos.

Both schools have set up grieve counseling for their students and support staff.

[Photo by John Minchillo/AP Images]

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