Family, Friends Attend Funeral For Vandy Athlete

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-07 23:42:12-04

Family and friends paid their respects to Vanderbilt baseball pitcher and rising star 19-year-old Donny Everett.

Everett drowned in Lake Normandy in Coffee County last week. The tragedy touched the entire Vanderbilt community.

"We got tennis players, I got swimmers that are on this bus, football players, the football coach," said Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams, "that says something about Donny and his family."

During Saturday’s baseball NCAA tournament game the team left a space for him. Flags were at half-staff, and his teammates prayed while fans wore black and gold ribbons along with his jersey number, 41.

Donny was considered a lock for the MLB draft, and turned down the chance to play in the majors in order to play for Vanderbilt.

Clarksville Sophomore Gavin Hams says everyone in town knew Donny. He said he was so excited when he got the chance to meet him over the summer.

"He pushed himself to where he could throw harder and be his best and I thought that was inspiring. I always looked up to him, (he's) just somebody I wanted to be like," Hams said. 

His Vanderbilt teammates are having a difficult time dealing with the loss, said Coach Tim Corbin.

"It seems like a dream, a nightmare, and we're just doing the best we can to get through it," he said. Corbin says the team remembers Donny as "larger than life," and cherished his genuine, fun-loving nature.

Donny won several baseball awards including Perfect Game All American last year and Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year.

The NCAA Student Assistance Fund paid for the funeral. The Everetts ask in lieu of flowers, well-wishers make a contribution in Donny's name to a charity of their choice.