Dealing with Loss at Texas Tech

Members of the Texas Tech club rugby team gathered in a meeting room of the recreation building on Texas Tech University’s campus. Usually, they would be out on the rugby field warming up for practice.

It was unknown to the players as most of them trickled in, but a teammate and friend was missing from the group.

Players sat quietly as team officer Michael McCabe relayed some devastating information about their senior captain, Quinton “Quinn” Noel. He would not be joining them again.

Noel died on Jan. 31, 2017 and left behind a rugby family stunned by his death.

Quinton “Quinn” Noel – Credit: TTU Men’s Rugby

Many teammates, including co-captain Steven Collins, sat and waited for this news to be some kind of joke, but it quickly became apparent this would not be the case.

As players continued to listen, a representative from the Office of Parent and Family Relations at Texas Tech was present to offer any help to the players. Some of which, may have been experiencing this type of loss for the first time.

Jonathan Chaney, a fellow rugby player, said they were given any and all resources at the school’s disposal to help them through this unexpected tragedy.

“She gave us all a sheet and told us like, there’s a grieving period, they understand,” Chaney said. “If you need to skip class or you need to miss something, they’ll be there to give you something to give you professors and tell them what happened.”

While taking care of students close to the deceased is important, it is not the only thing on the agenda for the staff in the Office of Parent and Family Relations at Texas Tech University.

Elizabeth Massengale, managing director of the office, said once the institution is made aware of a student death, they reach out to the emergency contact they have on file. She said this is to facilitate all of the things that need to happen in the circumstance of a student death.

Massengale said the school does many different things in response to these situations, including: honorary flag at half-staff, folding of the flag for the family, helping with logistical issues of the student’s things, posthumously awarding degrees for students who qualify, offering counseling for any students impacted by the student’s death, and other things of this nature.

Members of the TTU men’s rugby team gathers under the flag in honor of Noel. – Credit: TTU Men’s Rugby

Collins said they had a team memorial under the flags in Memorial Circle when the flag was at half-staff in Noel’s honor. He said the school’s presence during the whole ordeal was something more than just a school, he felt they cared about them as people.

“They were willing to work with you and actually talk to you and see if you needed any help,” Collins said. “It wasn’t just kind of ‘oh well this happened, here’s this, have a nice day,’ it was they tried to get to know you on a personal level and wanted to get to know you on a personal level in case you needed any help.”

Editor’s note: Hub Faculty Advisor Phil Terrigno is the head coach of the men’s rugby team. 

About Joseph Marcades

Joseph is the Graduate Managing Director for The Hub@TTU. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Tech University and is currently pursuing his master's in mass communication. Has been with The Hub@TTU for one year. He loves his wife, football, golf, movies, Texas, and telling good stories.

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