NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sporting Alert – Vanderbilt is mourning the loss of Donny Everett, after freshman pitcher Donny Everett drowned while fishing in Tennessee, the school is reporting.
According to a statement released on Friday by the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, Everett was hanging out with two of his teammates and two others when he attempted to swim across Normandy Lake near a bridge on Thursday.
The statement said the 19-year-old began to signal for help approximately halfway through, but according to Deputy Charles Taylor, friends thought he was just joking around because he was smiling.
According to an AP report, one person went into the water and “pulled Everett several feet before letting go,” believing that he was still joking and “struggling to stay afloat himself.”
The body of Everett was found just before 7 p.m. Thursday night in “25 feet of water around 15 feet from shore.”
“We learned last night of the tragic death of Donny Everett, an outstanding young man who exemplified the best of our university,” a statement from Vanderbilt director of athletics David Williams read on the Commodores’ official athletics website.
“As you can imagine, the team, the athletic department and the university are trying to come to terms with this tragedy.
“His parents and loved ones are on our minds and in our prayers as we share in their grief.”
The news of Everett’s death came one day before Vanderbilt open the NCAA Baseball Regional tournament.
Everett, a right-hander from Clarksville, Tennessee, joined the Vanderbilt baseball program, despite being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 29th round last year.
He was named the 2015 Gatorade player of the year for Tennessee, while at Vanderbilt he went 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings this season.
Despite the news of Everett’s death, Vanderbilt will still play its opening game of the NCAA Baseball Regionals on Friday night against Xavier at 7 p.m. at Hawkins Field.