U of U head coach wants to retire No. 22 to honor fallen players

Oct 4, 2021, 6:41 PM
(Photo provided by University of Utah Athletics)...
(Photo provided by University of Utah Athletics)
(Photo provided by University of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah coaches want to make a lasting tribute to Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan.  The two football standouts were both killed by gunfire less than a year apart from each other, and coaches want to retire the number they shared.

Head football coach Kyle Whittingham spoke to reporters for the first time since the murder of Aaron Lowe on September 26th.  Court records show the suspect, Buk M. Buk, fired his gun at Lowe and a female victim from across the street when they were attending a party in Sugarhouse.  After Lowe and the other the victim were on the ground, Buk reportedly walked toward the pair and fired five or six more times to ensure they were dead.  Buk was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Sunday for aggravated murder.

Officials say Ty Jordan died after an accidental self-inflicted gunshot while staying with family in Texas last Christmas.  Both players wore number 22, but Whittingham says that wasn’t the only similarity between the two young men.

“The description of Ty fits Aaron.  I think that’s, maybe, why they were so close,” according to Whittingham.

He says the two players had smiles on their faces all the time that lit up whatever room they walked into.  Whittingham can remember the feeling of dread pass over his body when he received the early morning phone call telling him Lowe had been killed.

“For our team to experience the losses that we’ve had in less than a year’s period of time with Ty and Aaron has been a challenge,” Whittingham says.  “It’s been a struggle.”

Even though the school has never retired a football number before, Whittingham wants to retire the number 22 in honor of Lowe and Jordan.  He’s already going to make it a policy for his players without waiting for approval from the university.

“You won’t see anyone wear number 22 in this program again.  At least, as long as I’m the head coach.  We’d like to see that retired, permanently,” Whittingham says.  “That’s our wish.”

Some students who spoke with KSL Newsradio, say they back this idea, completely.

Julian Pin says, “I think that’s pretty kind to the young men who passed away in the terrible incidents that occurred.”

The Deseret News reports Lowe’s funeral is scheduled for October 11 at the Family Cathedral of Praise in Mesquite, Texas.

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U of U head coach wants to retire No. 22 to honor fallen players