Hofstra DB perseveres through tragedy
When Jordan Dangerfield recorded a key fourth quarter interception in Hofstra’s 24-17 upset over seventh-ranked James Madison last week, his father was not far from his thoughts.
On Aug. 1, just a week before Dangerfield’s first college football training camp was to begin, his father, friend and former coach Jordan Dangerfield, Sr. unexpectedly died of a heart attack at age 51. With the heavy support of his teammates and coaching staff, the freshman defensive back has managed to persevere through this personal tragedy and be a key contributor to the Hofstra defense early this season.
“Right after [the interception] I felt him and after the game I had a little talk with him,” said Dangerfield of how his father remains in his prayers just over two months after his passing.
Dangerfield Sr., a former longtime resident of Elmont, Long Island before moving with his family to Royal Palm Beach, Fla. in 2005, was very active as a firefighter, coach, PTA leader and as a devoted member of the Ethiopian Jewish community. He also had a deep commitment to his family and was excited to be attending his son’s games at Shuart Stadium. just eight miles from his former Elmont home.
Knowing how much it meant to his father to play football at Hofstra, the 5’7 170 pound Dangerfield managed to make that first practice of the season on Aug. 9 just over a week after suffering such a deep loss. “It was something he wanted me to do so I had to do it,” said Dangerfield of pressing through with his football career in the wake of incurring the sudden death of a loved one. “That is what I would have been doing if he was still here,so I had to do it.”
Dangerfield’s first interception in his Hofstra career against JMU gave the team an emotional lift and head coach Dave Cohen made special mention of the accomplishment in the locker room after the game. “You never know what that young man has been through,” said an emotional Cohen in the post game press conference after the win over JMU of how happy he was to see Dangerfield be a key factor in the win.
“To see how he’s handled it just shows how mature a kid he really is,” said Hofstra defensive coordinator Rich Nagy of Dangerfield’s ability to play through the adversity of losing a parent just before starting college.
Saturday is sure to be an emotional day for Dangerfield when his mother Erica flies in from South Florida to attend Hofstra’s homecoming game against Maine. While his father will not be in the stands to see his son play, he will not be far from his heart.