Former UMaine coach remembers happy, determined Jovan Belcher


You’d never think that living the dream would include a nightmare ending.

Former University of Maine Defensive End Jovan Belcher ended his own life at the age of 25 this morning, leaving those who knew him grasping at straws for answers.

“Family was paramount for Jovan, you could see it at every game,” said Dwayne Wilmot, his position coach during the player’s days as a Black Bear,”His family showed up in force. He relished the opportunity to make them proud as a student and an athlete. He did what he did for their love and their adulation.”

Dec 1, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; A sign placed by fans is seen outside the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility the evening that Chiefs player Jovan Belcher (not pictured) committed a murder and suicide. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

And make them proud he did.

Jovan was a longshot to make it in the NFL.  Undrafted, he accepted a rookie free agent offer from the Kansas City Chiefs and worked his tail off to make the team.  And not only did he make the team, but he also became a starter after switching to inside linebacker and was one of the reasons how Kansas City’s defense kept the team in games despite poor offensive production.

He was living the dream.

“Never until four hours ago did I think Jovan was anything but a model  citizen,” said Jovan’s agent Joe Linta before echoing Wilmot’s Family first sentiments after hearing of the tragic events that transpired in Kansas City this morning.

“Jovan was a happy, proud father, with pictures of his baby on his Facebook  page. This is shocking. Something went crazy wrong, and we’ll probably never  know what it is.”

Belcher shot himself in front of his Head Coach, former New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel and fellow former Patriot, General Manager Scott Pioli as they attempted to talk him into lowering the gun away from his head.  According to eyewitness reports, Belcher thanked Crennel and Pioli for the opportunity to live his dream then turned and started walking away from them when he ended the dream with a single bullet.

Kansas City police were investigating a murder-suicide on Saturday, after  Belcher’s girlfriend, Kassandra Perkins, was shot several times and killed in front of her mother and three month old daughter at  their home in Kansas City.  From their house he proceeded to Arrowhead Stadium where he died in the parking lot.

Now the nightmare begins for Perkins’ mother and her suddenly orphaned granddaughter, putting the pieces of their lives back together after witnessing such a violent act.  Crennel and Pioli must now also live with the sight that will forever haunt their dreams.

As for his former coach at UMaine, Wilmot will try to remember the just good stuff, the happy and proud times. “What you saw was the burning desire to be successful,” he said of Belcher this morning, “If he had the opportunity, he’d make the most of it.  This is a tragic end, but his life had a greater good than just this tragic end.”

Wilmot mentioned that Jovan had some issues with immaturity while attending UMaine, but nothing violent, nothing to suggest that his life would come to such a horrific ending.

“Kids ages 18-22, they all have things they’d like to do over,” the coach said. “When I was that age there were things I’d like to do over. To see him grow and evolve in that time, it is an absolute and utter shock to be talking about Jovan in the past tense.”

For everyone that knew Jovan Belcher and witnessed his generosity, his work ethic and his love of life, it will always be shocking to talk about him in the past tense.