The University of the Southwest announced a van carrying its men’s and women’s golf teams was involved in a fatal crash Tuesday night.
Mason Storrs of NewsWest9 reported Wednesday head coach Tyler James was among those killed when the van collided with a pickup truck head-on in Andrews County, Texas. USW is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, and the team had traveled to Texas for a tournament.
An update later Wednesday from the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed at least nine people, including six USW students, were killed in the crash, per CNN.
“For unknown reasons, the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head-on,” Sgt. Steven Blanco said. “Both vehicles caught fire and burned.”
School president Quint Thurman released a statement to NBC News, via Storrs:
“We are still learning the details about the accident but we are devastated and deeply saddened to learn about the loss of our students’ lives and their coach. My understanding is that two of our students have survived and have been airlifted to University hospital in Lubbock with serious injuries. We would ask for prayers for their recovery and for comfort and strength for all of families and friends and students of those whose lives have been lost.”
Blanco previously told KWES-TV (via ESPN) details about the crash remain under investigation.
“It’s a very tragic scene,” Blanco said. “It’s very, very tragic.”
The school’s athletics website noted James was in his first season leading the golf teams. He previously coached at East Texas Baptist University, Howard Payne University and Brownwood High School after playing college golf at Ottawa University and Howard Payne.
Both of the USW golf teams recently returned from the sport’s winter break.
The men’s team hosted the Rockwind Invitational in February, finishing fifth, and Tuesday’s tournament in Midland marked the first event of the spring session for the women’s team.