Baylor > Lariat Archives > News

Campus mourns Dennehy's death

Sept. 2, 2003

By Matt Richards, reporter

The mood was one of somber reflection as family, friends and former players gathered in the George W. Truett Theological Seminary chapel to remember slain men's basketball player Patrick Dennehy.

The service showcased many friends and faculty members close to Dennehy.

The service began with an invocation from President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and singing from the A Capella Choir.

John Cunningham, senior lecturer for communication studies, spoke of the experiences he shared with Dennehy while teaching an interviewing course.

'Patrick was one of those special students that made a difference in my life,' Cunningham said. 'Patrick separated himself from the typical student from the first day.'

During the past few troubling months, senior guard and captain Matt Sayman has acted as a spokesman for the team.

He conceded that the summer had been difficult but that for that night, the team had a chance to forget the difficulties and focus on their teammate.

'We're taking a night off to remember Patrick and dedicate this night to him,' Sayman said. 'We've all been really hurting this summer. Luckily, we've had each other to help deal with the situation.'

Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa, spoke about the dreams and love Patrick and she shared.

Pastor Dick Bernal of the Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, Calif. spoke about the decision that Dennehy had made to become a Christian just months before his death.

'My prayer is that in his death, students here would find the meaning of life,' Bernal said.

'For all the millions of decisions we make in life, I'm thankful that 14 months ago, Patrick chose Christ.'

In addition to the stories that were told at the podium, there were many more carried amongst the crowd.

Angela Benson, an Amarillo senior, said she always will be thankful for the compassion that Dennehy showed her while in class.

'I remember one day I came in late. He had hurt his knee and was on crutches. None of the men in the class offered to give up their seat but Patrick did. He was a true and awesome man of God.'

Student Body President Jeff Leach expressed solemn appreciation for the fact that ' ... this service provided a lot of closure for students. It's been a rough summer, full of questions that have been unanswered, but I think this is the first time we've gotten to come together to actually remember his life,' Leach said. 'The great thing about Baylor students is that even though many of us don't know Patrick, we can come together and rally behind his family and friends.'

Dennehy was a highly coveted transfer from the University of New Mexico who expected to see substantial playing time this year. He averaged 10.6 points and started 28 games before coming to Baylor to finish his college career. In an effort to look forward from the tragedy surrounding the program, Sayman vowed that the Baylor basketball team would rebound from the tragedies of the summer.

'We will recover, but tonight, we're going to give everything to Patrick,' Sayman said.