In addition to losing his head coach over the weekend, one member of the Miami football program is dealing with a loss much infinitely greater than that.
Monday, the mother of star cornerback Artie Burns was hospitalized Monday in grave condition after suffering a heart attack. Tuesday morning, Dana Smith passed away.
She was 44 years old.
“Obviously it hit our team hard and our kids pretty hard,” interim head coach Larry Scott said in quotes distributed by the school. “She’s always been awesome with all of our guys, she has opened her home and fed a lot of our kids from out of state, she’s had several at her home at a time.
“It obviously impacted them, in consideration for Artie, and it impacted all of us, as Artie is a very important piece to our program here, and what his mom has done for us and our family, she really became the a part of the Hurricane Family. Our prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family.”
Suffice to say, the status of Burns, who currently leads the ACC and is second in the country with five interceptions, for this Saturday’s game against Duke is up in the air.
The school announced in a press release that “[a] donation fund has been set up to help… Burns and his family in their time of need.” More from the release (and the link to the fund HERE if you so desire):
NCAA rules permit an institution to run a fundraiser for student-athletes in catastrophic circumstances. The University of Miami has begun this process for Artie and his family by setting up a GoFundMe page to provide support for funeral, medical, and related expenses.
Smith, a former track star at Miami Northwestern High, has raised Artie, 20, and his two younger brothers.
It is imperative that any member of the Miami community who wishes to donate money to the Burns family follow the procedure above in order to ensure Artie’s eligibility is not put in jeopardy.
Please make sure all money is provided through the GoFundMe page and not given directly to Artie or any member of the Burns family.
In addition to offering our thoughts, prayers and condolences on Burns’ loss, here’s one final note: Al Golden, fired as The U’s head coach Sunday, was at the hospital Monday night after Smith suffered her heart attack. Say what you want about Golden on the field, that’s as selfless a gesture as you’ll find off of it.