Conyers, Teammates Remember Fallen Rebel
Aug 22, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — A week after Park Stevens transferred to Ole Miss in January, he and his new teammate Robert Conyers decided they wanted to get a place together. From there, Conyers said the two bonded and would hang out all the time.
On July 3, Stevens passed away traveling to his home in Columbus, Miss. The shock was immediately felt throughout Rebel Nation. Three days later, funeral services were held, and his Ole Miss teammates and coaches served as honorary pallbearers.
Conyers said he knew right away that he wanted to honor his fallen friend by changing jersey numbers from 78 to Stevens’ number, 75.
“It’s a big thing for me, it’s a big thing for his family, it’s a big thing for everybody,” Conyers said. “And everybody noticed it right away. Right after he died, I asked his parents if I could do it. All of the coaches were fine with it. I feel something special every time I put the No. 75 on.”
Conyers remains close with Stevens’ family, and the family also remains close with the Rebel football program.
“I talk to them about once a day, twice a day, sometimes,” Conyers said. “They text me, and I text them. His dad sends a text to the offensive line and the coaches once a day. If anybody is having a bad day, that text that he sends every day will lift you up.”
Stevens’ presence is still felt around the program, whether it’s his old jersey number now worn by Conyers or old memories shared among teammates.
“We talk about him a lot,” Conyers said. “Every time we get ready for a scrimmage or something, or we’re in a meeting, it’s in the back of our minds.
“We’re always bringing him up in the meeting room, like, ‘What if Park were here?’ and bringing up old memories, and things like that. That’s the way we remember him, not to get too serious about it, but remember the good things about him every day.”
Members of the Ole Miss football team will also pay tribute to their lost teammate with “PS” stickers on the back of their helmets this season. In addition, Stevens’ name will appear on a new display honoring “Fallen Rebels” set to be erected in the football facility.
“Park was a tremendous young man that was loved by his teammates and coaches, and Rebel Nation will never forget him," said Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.
Dean and Gail Stevens, Park Stevens' parents, have established the Park Stevens Memorial Scholarship Fund with the University of Mississippi Foundation in his memory. Gifts may be made by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, Miss. 38677; or by visiting www.umfoundation.com/makeagift. For more information contact Jared Coy at the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at (662) 915-7894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller
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