NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt University baseball team is mourning the loss of teammate Donny Everett, who drowned in Coffee County on Thursday night.
According to the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, Everett was at Normandy Lake with two teammates and two other people fishing.
Witnesses told police Everett was swimming when he started asking for help. They said they thought Everett was “just joking around” because he was smiling and did not seem to be struggling.
A friend went in and pulled Everett several feet along. The friend said he is not a good swimmer and was struggling to stay afloat when he let Everett go and swam back to shore.
When the friend looked back, he saw that Everett went under the water and did not come back up.
Divers with the Coffee County Rescue Squad recovered Everett’s body just before 7 p.m. about 15 feet off the shore line along Mt. View Road.
Everett was taken to a hospital in Tullahoma before being transported to Nashville for an autopsy.
Head coach Tim Corbin said he told the team about Everett’s death on Thursday night.
Vanderbilt is scheduled to play against Xavier University in the NCAA Regional at home at 7 p.m. Friday. Corbin told Channel 4 he is not sure if the team will play and that the decision will be made later in the day.
Everett, 19, was a freshman at Vanderbilt. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 29th round but decided to go to Vanderbilt instead.
In his team bio, Everett said he chose Vanderbilt because “the family here is just something you cannot pass up. The life lessons that Coach Corbin can teach me, I will always remember. The education is great and will help my life after baseball and the memories I will make will be the best of my life.”
Everett attended Clarksville High School, where he was named Perfect Game All-American and Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year in 2015. He led his team to district championships in 2014 and 2015.
Vanderbilt Director of Athletics David Williams has released this statement:
We learned last night of the tragic death of Donny Everett, an outstanding young man who exemplified the best of our university. As you can imagine, the team, the athletic department and the university are trying to come to terms with this tragedy. His parents and loved ones are on our minds and in our prayers as we share in their grief.