WINCHESTER — The Umpqua Community College men’s basketball team went through an emotional roller coaster last year.
The ultimate low point came on Oct. 1 when one of the former players lost his life at the hands of a lone gunman.
“We lost someone very close to our hearts in Treven (Anspach),” UCC men’s basketball coach Daniel Leeworthy wrote in a statement. “He was everything to me and to those that knew him, he has left a huge hole in our hearts.”
Anspach played his freshman year for the Riverhawks and had taken a step back from the team to focus on his studies to become a firefighter and paramedic.
The 6-foot-5 basketball player was much beloved in his hometown of Sutherlin, where he had played on the varsity team for all four years.
“It was a challenge to move forward with the season but it was a part of our recovery,” Leeworthy wrote. “Many of our student athletes were right there when it happened, and we resolved to keep moving forward in the hopes to also help others.”
Fellow UCC basketball players Joe Baldi and Charles Porter were in Snyder 14 at the time the gunman opened fire in a neighboring classroom.
Baldi spoke about Anspach at a memorial service for the UCC victims. “I probably know him a lot less than a lot of people out here. But he made me feel right at home.
“I think most people remember Treven as an athlete, but that was the last thing that defined him. He really embodied someone that was unselfish, laughed and was a good kid.”
UCC has since retired Anspach’s jersey and dedicated a plaque with the words “Hero, Heart, Teamwork, Sacrifice, Service” to Anspach. Sutherlin has retired the basketball and soccer jerseys that once belonged to Anspach.
Anspach’s freshman year at UCC was also the year Leeworthy took over as the head coach for the men’s basketball team.
“I think about Treven Anspach every day,” Leeworthy said. “He is forever a part of our program and we will do our best for him and this great college and community.”
The Riverhawks exceeded expectations throughout last season, but fell just short of making it to the Northwest Athletic Conference playoffs. This year, they hope to continue their success as a team.
“We have almost a whole brand new team from last season as some of our freshman from last year received scholarship opportunities at four year universities,” Leeworthy said.
Jouvon Edison will return for his sophomore year at UCC. The 6-10 center will be joined by Roseburg’s own Jake Stephens who red-shirted last year.
“We have a chance to affect those around us in a positive way,” Leeworthy said. “We will all run in the Umpqua Strong run Oct. 1 and be in attendance at the candlelight vigil.”