"He always had that smile:" UNI football coach remembers former - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"He always had that smile:" UNI football coach remembers former player killed in shooting

Posted: Updated:
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Following a deadly St. Louis shooting that killed a former UNI football player, UNI Head Football Coach Mark Farley recalls the shining personality his former player brought to the game.

Jaz Granderson was found with a gunshot wound Monday in St. Louis.  Granderson had been working as a high school football coach in the St. Louis area for two years.

A former special teams and defensive back for UNI, Granderson played for the Panthers between 2009 and 2011.  Coach Farley says Granderson had a big heart, and a big smile.

"Jaz, he was just a great personality. He always had that smile. Find a picture that he didn't have that big smile. That is how he played. He had fun on the sidelines. He had fun in the locker room. Players loved him. He was one of those people you liked to be around," recalled Coach Farley during Tuesday's practice.

For three years, Granderson was a light in UNI's football program. His last two seasons, the team won the last two NCAA Division Conference Championships to date for the Panthers.

"His positive approach to everything; it wasn't always perfect for him. He wasn't the starter, but he was on the special teams. He took his role and he brought the energy to that role," said Farley.

Granderson had a passion for football for life.  A passion he continued to pursue after college.  He moved back to his hometown of St. Louis to coach high school football.

"He wanted to give back. He was actually putting on camps in the summer in St. Louis for inner city kids for free. He was just trying to teach the game and give back to the game, what he had gotten from it," said Farley.

The 27-year-old football coach left behind a legacy on and off the field, and shared an unforgettable smile with many.

"And that is what I will remember the most about Jaz," said Farley.  

Powered by Frankly