Sports Information Director Will Darity died Wednesday morning in Pasadena of a heart attack. He was 43.
For 18 years Mr. Darity served many roles at the University, most recently as the sports information director of the athletics department and an assistant coach.
“Will Darity was completely dedicated to Leopard Athletics, spending countless hours above and beyond his duties,” Paul Alvarez, director of the Athletic Training Education Program, said in a statement released Thursday by President Devorah Lieberman. “He will be missed as a friend and colleague.”
The track and field program won four Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships under his guidance as assistant coach for track and field and cross country. In addition, Mr. Darity led student athletes to the NCAA Division III Championships.
“Will supported all athletes,” senior chemistry major and basketball player Megan Musashi said. “We got to know him on a personal level.”
“He really cared about each person’s well being as well your success on the field, the court or the pool,” she said.
Mr. Darity graduated from T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, N.C., and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993. That same year, he interned for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Mr. Darity was the sports information assistant at California State University Northridge from 1994 to 1995.
In 1997, Mr. Darity earned a master’s degree in education with a focus in athletics management at the University of La Verne while serving as assistant coach for track and field and cross country.
Mr. Darity was also an admissions counselor and a CAPA academic advisor from 1998 to 2004.
Alongside his numerous responsibilities at the University, Mr. Darity wrote for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, mainly covering high school sporting events.
He taught a course titled “The Human Condition,” CORE 320, during the majority of his time at the University.
Senior kinesiology major Kirsten Hurd was a student worker for Mr. Darity for three years.
“It’s hard to put into words what Will did for everyone, not only as an athlete,” Hurd said.
“He never looked at us as just athletes, or just as student workers. My grandfather died last year, and he was the first person to be there for me. He’s an amazing man.”
A candle lighting in honor of Mr. Darity was held Thursday afternoon in the Interfaith Chapel on campus.
The campus community was invited to light a candle and stay for reflection or prayer.
Memorial service plans are still pending, according to a release from University spokesman Mark Vidal.
Kristina Bugante can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.