WOOSTER, Ohio– Students and faculty at the College of Wooster are mourning the sudden death of a 21-year-old football player.
Offensive lineman Clayton Geib walked off the field after a victory over Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, he told his father, “this is the best day ever,” according to university officials.
But when Clayton, a chemistry major at Wooster, got to the locker room at John Papp Stadium a short time later, he became ill. He was taken to Wooster Community Hospital by life squad and died Sunday afternoon.
On the campus of the College of Wooster, Geib’s final words to his dad have touched the hearts of students and staff.
“The team is very close and they’re a very close family. And so, to share something they had worked so hard for was really, really wonderful and having a chance to know the team and so much that they’re celebrating, made that particularly both wonderful on one hand, but also very, very sad on the other,” said Dean of Students Scott Brown.
The College of Wooster is making counseling available for students and faculty. Officials are also encouraging professors to use class time to talk about Geib’s contributions as a student and an athlete.
“It’s incalculable. I mean, one of the things we’re trying to do is how many different ripples in which Clayton exists in this campus. From the students that were in his class that are missing someone who was an active participant, obviously the football team, faculty here, his advisers,” Brown said.
Wooster football coach Frank Colaprete told members of the team it was Geib who showed them how to deal with tragic loss. Two years ago, Clayton’s mom passed away suddenly at the age of 49. As he was grieving, Clayton poured himself into his academics, earned straight As and was named to the all-conference honor roll.
Plans are now underway for a memorial on campus. Students will be wearing wrist bands and ribbons to pay tribute to Clayton Geib, a thoughtful young man who showed wisdom well beyond his years.
“There’s really not a playbook, but I’m inspired by that. I’m supported by that. And I think that the coach has really been trying to help the students see that themselves, and give them something to kind of come together with and get some kind of normalcy and be able to sort of get their strength back and certainly together,” Brown said.
As a symbol of their loss, just 10 Fighting Scots will initially take the field at their game next week at Depauw University in Indiana. There will an emblem of his number 72 on their helmets.
Clayton Geib is survived by a loving family that includes his father, a brother and a sister. He will be laid to rest in his hometown of London, Ohio.