Meyer, staff plan to attend Herrion funeral

The Florida coach and his assistants remember Thomas Herrion as "a fun-loving kid" who was "friends with everybody."

Published August 23, 2005

GAINESVILLE - Florida coach Urban Meyer and several assistants are working on plans to attend Saturday's funeral for former Utah offensive lineman Thomas Herrion in Forth Worth, Texas.

The 23-year-old Herrion died early Sunday after the San Francisco 49ers' preseason game in Denver.

Meyer and the assistants coached Herrion during his 2003 senior season at Utah. Offensive line coach John Hevesy said his father called him early Sunday with the news of Herrion's death. Hevesy was the tackles and tight ends coach at Utah in 2003.

"He was a fun-loving kid, a kid that everyone loved being around," Hevesy said. "A 23-year-old kid has got his life in front of him. ... He didn't come from anything and he gets his college degree, works himself through junior college to Utah and gets himself to the NFL. That's tragic. He worked his way to a lot of things."

"It's a terrible thing," Meyer said. "My daughters, my family was just crushed when they heard about it. They all knew Big "T', that was his nickname. ... He was a great young man. He would enter a room and you knew he was there. He was friends with everybody. He would always talk about his mom. He played football for his mom and he always wanted to buy her a home if he was ever fortunate enough to play in the NFL. He was a very humble guy. We would have our church services like we do here and he would always sing at them."

Hevesy said he wants to be at the funeral out of respect for Herrion's family and because the coaches owe that to him for "the commitment he made to us his senior year to get us to 10-2. You always owe back to a kid like that and his family."

Meyer said he has not contacted the Herrion family, but planned to do so "at the appropriate time." He has spoken with numerous Utah colleagues, he said, adding Herrion never had any health issues in college.

"No (health problems), but he was a big guy," Meyer said of the 6-foot-3 Herrion. "I heard he was down to 310; when I had him he was 330, 340. He was always big. But he was not a drinker, not a smoker. He enjoyed life. He was a great kid.

"I talked to the D-line coordinator at San Francisco and he said it was 65 degrees (at the game), so I'm anxious to see what in the world (happened)."