ADA – The East Central University family lost a well-liked member with the tragic death of Chris Lane, a student-athlete on the Tiger baseball team, on Aug. 16, 2013.
“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the response and outpouring of concern at this time. We appreciate the condolences and support we have received, both nationally and internationally, concerning the loss of one our treasured student-athletes,” said East Central University President John R. Hargrave. “Chris exemplified what a student-athlete is all about, from being a model student in his business classes to being a leader on the baseball field. We will miss Chris, not only for his presence, but the impact he has made on fellow students and athletes.”
ECU has announced that a Chris Lane Memorial Fund has been established in his memory as the university is working closely with the Lane family to memorialize their son. The funds will be used according to the family’s wishes and consistent with the ECU Foundation’s mission.
Donations can be made to the ECU Foundation, Inc. at http://alumni.ecok.edu/donations/ or by contacting ECU Foundation Executive Director Phyllis Danley at 580-559-5514.
Lane was a native of Melbourne, Australia and had come to the United States to pursue an education and play baseball.
He joined ECU for the 2012-13 season as a junior catcher and was expected to be the starting catcher for the Tigers in 2014. Before wearing an orange and black uniform, Lane spent three seasons at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla., where he earned an associate’s degree in business administration.
While Lane was in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship, his goal wasn’t to move on and play professional baseball, but to earn a degree in finance and start a real estate business with his parents. He decided to continue to play baseball to help him reach those dreams through a scholarship, according to ECU Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Williams.
“Chris was talented enough to play baseball,” said Williams. “But he used that as a pathway to a collegiate education. Chris embodied every sense of the word student-athlete.”
Lane will be remembered as a wonderful young man with a kind heart and magnetic personality. He was a student-athlete that could be looked to for advice and support. Lane was the type of person who you thought was always having a good day, because he always had the ‘Chris Lane smile on.’
“When I think about Chris Lane, I think about a young man with a kind heart and a magnetic personality,” said ECU head baseball coach Dino Rosato. “He was a person I wanted to be around. He was a young man with great character. I am a better man for Chris having been a part of my life.”
When he decided to come to the U.S. to earn his degree, Lane probably didn’t know how many lives he would impact. Sam Malchar, one of his ECU baseball teammates, remembers Lane’s friendliness and charming personality.
“The first thing that you would notice about Chris was his strong Australian accent, which would just draw people toward him especially in Oklahoma where most people have never heard it other than in the movies,” Malchar said. “But there were a lot more reasons to talk him than just an accent. You wanted to talk to him because he was the kind of guy who you could tell anything, one of those people you just loved to be around. He was a very witty and lighthearted guy, always able to lighten up the mood.”
Malchar also remembers his competitive fire, along with willingness and ability to buy into the team concept.
“He was a fierce competitor, and a great team guy. He was a leader on the field last year, but surely would have been the captain this year. We always knew he was someone we could count on when we needed it,” said Malchar. “In the classroom Chris was the same…really smart, never missed class and teachers loved him because of how respectable he was. I know that everyone always wanted to work with him in group projects because he was so dependable. He wanted to get into real estate in the states, which I always told him would be a good idea because, with his accent, he could sell a boat in the desert. I know without a doubt he would have been successful in whatever he did because he had great work ethic and strived for success.”
Malchar also remembers Lane’s zest for life.
“Not a lot of people would move half way around the world to get an education and build a better life but he did. Chris was a charming guy, genuinely good person, with great character and had a love for life,” Malchar said. “As cliché as it sounds, Chris was the kind of guy you want your sons to grow up to be and that you want your daughters to marry. It just breaks my heart knowing how much more he could have brought to this world as a husband, father, son, brother and friend.”