Darius Minor, 18, died Tuesday during a University of Maine football workout at Alfond Stadium in Orono.

People affected by the unexpected death of a University of Maine freshman football player pledged more than $25,000 in one day to help cover funeral costs for his family in Virginia.

Darius Minor, 18, collapsed and died Tuesday afternoon during a supervised workout at Alfond Stadium. A defensive back from Locust Grove, Virginia, Minor is the first player in the program’s 126-year history to die during a workout on campus.

Minor’s aunt, Dana Wines, set up a GoFundMe page Thursday afternoon, writing that he “was raised by a single mother who needs our help to give him the proper burial he deserves. Please help us, help her.”

Wines is the sister of Charity Wines, Minor’s mother.

After an initial goal of $15,000 appeared within reach late Friday morning, the goal was raised to $25,000, an amount surpassed in pledges early Friday afternoon. The largest pledge — of more than 250 — came from longtime college benefactor Phillip H. Morse, a 1964 University of Maine graduate who played baseball and is currently a vice chairman of the Boston Red Sox. Morse pledged $10,000.

Joe Harasymiak, head football coach at Maine, posted a letter on Twitter on Thursday with a link to the “Memorial for Darius ‘Bubby’ Minor” fundraising page. He said he had spoken by phone with Charity Wines several times and told her the “entire Maine family is here for her and if there was anything she needed, we would do our best to get it done. The most important thing right now is that we are all here to support, comfort and help as best we can with anything that Darius’ family needs.”

Minor had been in Orono with other freshmen football players as part of a new “summer bridge” program that included an academic class and workouts. Harasymiak held a team meeting Wednesday morning and sent players home to their families before the start of training camp on Aug. 1.

“I also urged them to be emotional,” Harasymiak wrote of his players. “They don’t have to be the tough 18-22-year-old football player right now. They should be emotional and they should laugh and cry. It’s a normal emotion to miss someone (who) has left us too soon.”

At meeting’s end, Harasymiak left his team with a final request: “I told them when they walk in the door when they get home to hug and kiss whoever is there a little bit harder and a little bit longer.”

The cause of Minor’s death is unknown, pending results from an autopsy by the Maine Chief Medical Examiner’s Office.


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