Athletic Director Carla Williams and Head Football Coach Tony Elliott held a press conference at 3:30 pm this afternoon, in light of the recent tragedy in which UVA students Lavel Davis Jr, Devin Chandler, and D’Sean Perry were killed.
The two started with opening remarks, Williams thanked a numerous number of members of the UVA community for their resounding support during this traumatic time, and Elliott echoed her sentiments. The floor was then opened to 30 minutes of questions.
Elliott was asked how he has approached the past 24+ hours. Elliott described the situation as a “nightmare,” and that he is just “waiting to be pinched” so he can be woken back up. Elliott has made his best efforts to ensure his team has been together, and received counseling services for those who need it. Elliott described the first meeting after the shooting as being extraordinarily difficult, but that the second meeting ended a bit better; towards the end, they began transferring to joy, as they remembered and celebrated the lives of three beautiful men.
Elliott was then asked about memories he had of each athlete. Elliott, who was visibly shaken up the entire conference, lit up every time he talked about his players. He described Lavel as always having a big smile that just lights up every room; there was a gentleness about him, yet he was also so passionate. More than anything, he was a great teammate. Elliott commented on D’Sean’s amazing artistic ability; while others may not know it, D’Sean loved to draw, work with pots, and loved music. Elliott described him as having a “one of a kind” sense of humor. Elliott described Devin as “a big kid,” he loved to dance and he loved to sing. Elliott gave a cheerful chuckle as he remembered an anecdote about Devin’s teammates saying he wasn’t very good at video games, but he always loved to compete.
When asked about the grieving process, one of the most difficult things for Elliott has been helping his nine-year-old son. To his son, “these guys are his friends,” remarked an emotional Elliott.
Carla Williams was asked about the vigil held last night, and said she was incredibly thankful to the fellow student-athletes, as well as the rest of the students, for the showing of thousands of individuals within the UVA community. Throughout the conference, it seemed as though Williams handled more of the administrative questions. A few reporters asked questions regarding the incident itself: if there were any other players on the bus where the shooting transpired and what led up to the tragedy on the bus. Williams declined to answer both, as the investigation is ongoing.
Lastly, football is not important right now, but because their business is football: Williams stated that no decision has been made regarding whether or not the game will occur this weekend, but a decision will be made soon.