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Sports reporter’s loved ones remember her passion and ‘raw talent’ as they prepare for her funeral days after the Louisiana plane crash

Carley McCord, the sports reporter killed in a Louisiana plane crash Saturday, “smelled of raw talent” from birth, those who knew her said in an obituary ahead of her funeral this week.

She discovered her passion for sports in high school, when she became a national powerlifting champion by 15, according to her obituary posted by Resthaven Gardens of Memory and Funeral Home. Later on in college, she won five pageant titles and “multiple awards from the Miss America Organization for her singing talent, physical fitness and interview style,” the obituary said.

She worked with the Cleveland Browns and returned to her home in Louisiana and became a “firebrand sports analyst and household name for her marked intelligence, infectious personality and megawatt smile.”

McCord, along with the four other people killed in the crash, was on her way to Atlanta for a college football playoff semifinal.

At the time of the crash, the obituary says she held eight jobs: “In-house media host for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, TV sports reporter for WDSU, sideline reporter for ESPN and Cox Sports, in-house digital media manager for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, travel agent, and international instructor teaching children in China to speak English as a second language.”

“In the stories of our lives, some things are handed to people, others like Carley have to roll up their sleeves and show some teeth,” the obituary said. “In her life story, she marked the recipe for the making of a star — sheer talent, encouragement, a clear passion, work ethic, a sprinkle of ingenuity and a dash of love.”

Visitation and memorial services for McCord are scheduled for Saturday.

A heartbreaking message

McCord tried to reach her husband but he never got the chance to answer, Sports Illustrated previously reported.

Steven Ensminger, Jr., son of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, told a Sports Illustrated reporter that he missed a call and a text from his wife the morning of the crash.

“I don’t have my phone and she sends me a message saying she loved me,” he told Sports Illustrated. “It is by far the most pain, angst and terror and just darkest time of my life and I honestly don’t know how long it will last because I still don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it.”

He spoke with CNN on Sunday about his loss. “I can’t come up with words. She was my everything.”

The small plane crashed a few miles from Lafayette Regional Airport. It reached an altitude of 900 feet after taking off and started a “left descending turn,” National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said.

Air traffic control issued a low altitude alert when the plane reached 700 feet, Landsberg said.

There was no distress call from the aircraft, he said, and no flight data was recorded on the aircraft. It crashed about four miles from the airport near a post office on Feu Follet Road in Lafayette.

A resident, Alexis West, told CNN that the plane “was really low to the ground and shaking and it looked like it was coming to land… And then it just skidded through the parking lot at the post office and then exploded. There was a big wall of fire.”

The cause of the crash is still unknown.



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