Salukis Remember One of their Own

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY— Friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of a local coach, killed in a mysterious crash this week.

Cory Warren was an SIU grad assistant who coached for the football team. The 26-year-old was driving a university vehicle when it went off Cedar Creek Road, hit a tree, and caught fire. His sudden death has devastated the Saluki football program.

Warren moved to southern Illinois with a dream two years ago, to change lives as a football coach.

“He was a show up early and stay late type of guy. The type of guy you want to be around,” Austin Flyger recalled.

The Kansas native enrolled in graduate school at SIU and started helping out the Salukis right away, working closely with linebackers on the field.

Head Coach Dale Lennon says Warren was a part of the football family.

“That’s the age of my sons, and you want to bring them along the best that you can,” he said.

Although Warren graduated with a master’s in education at the end of 2013, he stayed on to continue coaching this spring.

“The thing with football is you spend so much time together you can’t help but get close and care for each other. It’s just when you lose somebody like this there’s no way to prepare yourself for it,” explained Lennon.

Friends and fellow coaches Austin and Travis agree; they're still in shock.

“He was a big part of what we were doing around here and he's just gonna be missed,” Flyger added.

“He had a lot of part in, you know, things that were getting ready to come up, you know. He did a lot of jobs behind the scenes that the casual fan will never know,” Travis Stepps said.

It's too soon to know how the Salukis will honor him. One thing's for sure, they'll pay tribute to Warren's memory both on and off the field.

“He was getting very close to achieving what he wanted to achieve. It’s very sad to not see him be able to do it,” Lennon admitted.

Warren will be laid to rest in Kansas on Tuesday. The investigation into the crash is ongoing. 

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