Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
With 96 days left until the Hoosiers kickoff against the Salukis we pause to remember former Hoosier #96 Yeronimo Ciriaco who passed away on August 21, 2004 at the age of 26 when died from a seizure that caused a car accident. The former defensive tackle played for Indiana from 1996-1999. Ciriaco came to IU with aspirations to learn English and become a college football strength and conditioning coach. He achieved these goals graduating from IU with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and had been hired by Illinois as an assistant coach just before he passed away.
Ciriaco’s former coach Bill Mallory had this to say about him in an article from August of 2005 on IUHoosiers.com:
“In my opinion he was special. Everyone had a lot of respect for him. He came out of a tough situation from the Bronx. It is a tough area. He was a young man that had some things to overcome in his life, but there were never any roadblocks to him. He was very positive and wanted to do something with his life. Once he came, people saw how positive he was. He did everything it took for him to acquire his education… As far as football is concerned he was a young man that put a lot of effort into it. He did everything to contribute to the program. He was what I called a program player. You always wanted him on your team, regardless of whether it was sports related or not.”
Ciriaco’s former teammate Pat Kraft had these kind words about his fallen comrade:
“He loved Indiana, whether it was working for his master’s at the HPER, working as a weight room G.A. or donning his 96 football jersey. Everyday before practice you would hear Mo yell at the top of his lungs ‘It’s a great day to be a Hoosier’. He really believed it with all his heart. Everyday, he was excited to be a Hoosier.”
Ciriaco was passionate about being part of the university and embodied all that is good with college athletics. A tragic accident took him too soon from the sport that he loved.
Check back tomorrow as we continue our countdown at 95.