Florida junior cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis lost former Naples Lely teammate Ereck Plancher, 19, who died after completing agility drills with his teammates at the University of Central Florida Tuesday morning. For Pierre-Louis, it was more than the loss of a former teammate. It was the loss of a good friend.
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“I knew him for like four years,” Pierre-Louis said. “He was a good kid, like a four point GPA in high school. He even graduated early, so that he could go over there (University of Central Florida). Every year, every game he was focused and kept me straight. He kept everybody on the team straight. He was an underclassman, but everybody looked up to him. I ain’t lying to ya’ll man.”
An autopsy was performed on Plancher by the Orange County Medical Examiners’ Office was inconclusive as to what exactly caused his death. The coroners’ office will need additional testing to determine a cause of death.
The team held a private memorial today on campus. It was initially reported by the Central Florida Future that the Knights would postpone spring practice temporarily. However, school officials said that they will go forward with spring practice as scheduled.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that a funeral service will take place at 10am on March 29th at Lely High School. The University of Central Florida football team will bus over for the service.
“One of my good friends that’s his cousin, so I’m going to see if the coaches are going to let me go to the funeral next Saturday,” Pierre-Louis said. “I heard it and I couldn’t believe it. It was a shock. I can’t believe that. It scared me a little bit.”
In recent years, the University of Florida has experienced the tragic loss of four future, current, or former members of the Gators football team. True freshman fullback Eraste Autin died after an off-season conditioning workout on July 19, 2001. Autin’s teammates, coaches, and the University of Florida community were touched by the loss of Autin for years. Many freshmen players in the 1998 signing class still had the memory of Palm Bay High School All-American James McGriff, who drowned off Melbourne Beach not long after signing his name to a letter of intent to play for the Gators. Last year, former Florida cornerback Avery Atkins died in his hometown of Daytona Beach and Michael Guilford died in an automobile accident in southwest Gainesville.
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Plancher family and the University of Central Florida program. The University of Florida community knows how difficult a time this is and the pain won’t go away anytime soon.
“You never know what’s going to happen to you,” said Pierre-Louis. “Life is short … I don’t even want to talk about it.”