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Sad news to report at the end of the college basketball season. An assistant coach and a deputy athletic director were among the seven who died in a plane crash. They were returning from the NCAA Final Four at Indianapolis. The fatal crash happened early Tuesday (April 7) morning.

Illinois State assistant coach Torrey Ward and deputy athletic director Aaron Leetch were on-board the Cessna 414 twin-engine aircraft as it crashed short of its destination at Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

Illinois State head coach Dan Muller released a statement in the wake of the accident.

To lose a bunch of friends much too early is devastating.  To all of the families and friends, my deepest condolences and my prayers are with you.  To Aaron Leetch, a friend, colleague, and mentor, I will miss you so much.  And to my dear friend Torrey Ward, I love you so much, I will miss you every day and I can’t wait to see you again.

On behalf of our entire program, we appreciate everyone respecting our privacy at this time to grieve, and we will all miss Aaron, Torrey and those involved.  We are here for all families and friends, and we will stick together through this tragedy.  Redbirds for Life.

There’s no official word on what caused the crash, but photos from the crash site show a dense fog surrounding it. Best wishes to Leetch and Ward’s friends and family.

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