Sooner Fans Mourn Death Of Austin Box

Friday, May 20th 2011, 8:48 am
By: News 9

Layna Dewell, Staff Writer

EL RENO, Oklahoma -- Family, friends, and Sooner fans are searching for answers after learning of the death of University of Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box Thursday.

A friend of Box's called 911 Thursday morning after finding him unconscious at a house in El Reno.  According to an El Reno Police report, the responding officer said he believed Box had overdosed on a controlled substance.

The residence where Box was found belongs to J. T. Cobble, the son of Box's former Enid High School football coach.

Box was taken by ambulance to a hospital in El Reno then transferred by air ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City, where he died.

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy to determine what caused his death.

"We're all shocked and heartbroken," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "Austin was a great young man, a great young man to coach and a great teammate. He played an integral part in our success the last three years and was looking forward to a big senior year. As heart-wrenching as this is for us, we know it's even more difficult for his family. More than anything, our thoughts and prayers are with them."

"The University family is deeply saddened by the tragic death of student-athlete Austin Box. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," said OU President David L. Boren.

Box, a native of Enid Okla. is a senior linebacker for the Sooners. He missed the first five games of the 2010 season with a pre-season back injury.

He returned to game action toward the end of the season, starting the last five games at middle linebacker. In three of the four games he started he recorded six or more tackles.

"Austin Box will be greatly missed by his many friends and teammates in the athletics department and all across campus. Grief counseling is being made available to members of the team and his close friends," said Castiglione.