The night the Tigers broke the record for the highest score in College Football Playoff history was perhaps one of the lowest points of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger’s life.
His daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, died in a plane crash Saturday morning leaving Lafayette. McCord was headed to Atlanta to do one of the things she enjoyed most: cheering on her father-in-law and rooting for the Tigers.
A Baton Rouge native, McCord was a graduate of both Northwestern State University and LSU. Her work ethic was unmatched. She built a following as a Cox Sports Television, ESPN3, and WDSU sports reporter. On top of that, McCord was an in-arena host for the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans.
Her bubbly personality and sincere demeanor could make any coach, athlete, or fan feel comfortable on television. Her knowledge of sports and in-depth reporting earned her devout respect among the business.
Her passing not only affected her family, friends, and close loved ones, but also shook the sports community around the nation.
Words of sympathy poured in from NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, the governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards, and even Saints Sunday opponent the Carolina Panthers. Just to name a few.
The last picture McCord posted on Instagram was song lyrics by singer Andy Grammer. The recording artist posted a video to the social media platform extending his condolences.
Carley is survived by her husband Steven Ensminger Jr., the only son of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.
Being the dedicated coach he is, Ensminger never questioned coaching in the Peach Bowl after hearing of the tragedy. He was there for his team. His team was there for him. The LSU Tigers broke over 20 offensive records on Saturday night, largely in part to the efforts and play calls of Ensminger. The Tigers played for Carley, Coach E, and the McCord and Ensminger families.
“Obviously, he was distraught,” head coach Ed Orgeron says. “But he called a great game today. That just goes to show you the integrity and the grit and the character of the men on our football team.”
“The look on his face, he was just completely locked in on the game,” Tigers center Lloyd Cushenberry says. “Just the emotion that he showed in the locker room, it’s great to get this win for Coach Ensminger. We’re definitely praying for him and his family.”
“It showed how much he cared about the team,” Tigers tight end Thaddeus Moss says. “It showed how much he cares about us. He was talking to Coach O, and the first thing he said to him was ‘we’re gonna get through this.’ He went out there and called a hell of a game. We played a hell of a game. Just says a lot about him.”
“I mean first off, I just want to send my condolences to the family,” Tigers defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko says. “Very unfortunate to hear news like that. Coach E is like another father figure to us. When you hear stuff like that, we all kind of said a prayer. We found out actually as we were in the locker room getting ready for the game. I just want to send my prayers to the family and just let them know that I think not only the team, but the whole state of Louisiana is praying for Coach E and his family right now.”
The NSU alumni organization has set up a memorial scholarship fund in McCord’s honor. If you would like to donate, click here.