Illinois State’s Dan Muller was awarded MVC Coach of the Year on Thursday, and the fifth-year coach got emotional during his speech as he remembered the victims of a 2015 plane crash that killed seven members of the Bloomington-Normal community. Among the victims were associate head coach Torrey Ward and ISU deputy director of athletics for external operations Aaron Leetch.
“The only bad part about this season obviously is the fact that Aaron Leetch is supposed to be sitting over at that table right now,” Muller said. “Torrey Ward is supposed to be at Sweetie Pie’s right now eating with our team, and those five men were supposed to be getting ready for a special weekend. And so when you think about what our team’s been through, the journey has been fun but we know it’s not fair, and that’s okay. Life’s not fair.
“I miss those guys,” he later continued. “Sorry. If we’re fortunate enough to keep playing on Sunday, it’s going to be pretty simple. My wife and I will go to church, pray for those seven, then go try to do my best. So hopefully — hopefully — when my players graduate, I hope they think I did them right. I hope they go on and appreciative, treat people right, respect people because I know it’s a blessing to coach them. I’ve got a great group of guys. They’ve been so much fun. So again, Sunday if we’re fortunate enough to play, I’ll try to do my best. Those seven guys upstairs will put on their favorite red outfit, pour a drink and hopefully have a great weekend ’cause we’re gonna try to win this thing.”