Oklahoma State University is mourning the death of Cowboy Basketball forward Tyrek Coger. The 22-year-old junior college transfer from Raleigh, North Carolina collapsed following a team workout on Thursday afternoon.
Coger was transported to Stillwater Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 6:23 p.m.
The medical examiner's office says Coger had an enlarged heart.
Cowboy Head Basketball Coach Brad Underwood said he is devastated by the news.
"This is the hardest couple days I've ever experienced in my coaching life," Underwood said as he cried. "You say goodbye to players when they graduate, and that's one thing... making that phone call to a mother is... there's no words. It's a tragic day. It's a sad, sad day."
Coger had been on campus just 17 days after transferring from Cape Fear Community College. OSU said he went through medical testing before being cleared. An enlarged heart is one of the conditions the staff looks for during tests.
"We can't talk about individuals, but the tests we do are very thorough and he was out there working out," university spokesperson Gary Shutt said.
The heat index was above 105 during the workout on Thursday afternoon. OSU isn't sure what role that played in Coger's death, but it raises questions about policy when it comes to workouts in extreme heat.
"I don't really know how to adequately answer that at this time," Athletic Director Mike Holder said. "As I said, we put a lot of confidence in our strength and conditioning staff, and that's a question that I'll come up with an answer at a later date for you. ..."It was obviously hot yesterday. In competitive athletics, you're always pushing. If you want to be great at something, you've got to push the envelope."
Strength coach Jake Manzelmann and an athletic trainer were supervising the workout.
Underwood was recruiting in Las Vegas, but says he's been holding outdoor workouts for his teams for 29 years.
"Tyrek was excited to be at Oklahoma State and had such passion for the game and was looking forward to being an OSU Cowboy," Underwood siad. "Losing a member of the team is like losing a member of the family. But we know our loss pales in comparison to the pain his family is going through."