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Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2001

Final Four administrator deals with loss

NCAA’s Hancock lost son in Oklahoma State plane crash

March 31, 2001

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— A plaque outside the pressroom door reminds NCAA Tournament administrator Bill Hancock what's missing at this Final Four.

He can't walk into the "Will Hancock Media Coordination Center" without remembering the son he lost in a Jan. 27 plane crash that took the lives of nine others associated with Oklahoma State basketball.

Will Hancock, 31, was an assistant sports information director at Oklahoma State who had worked with his father since he was a youngster. Will mopped floors as a ballboy, handed out press releases and, in recent seasons, acted as a photo steward. He was a Kansas graduate.

"I don't know how I'm supposed to be doing," Hancock said. "He would be here with me right now. The fact is, I can't have him back. I'll go an hour without thinking about him, and something will bring it back."

Hancock is grateful every time that happens. He believes media coverage of the crash, coupled with his job at the NCAA, has resulted in an outpouring of support he would not normally have received.

"In a weird way, it's been a help that people know about it," he said. "Dadgummit, this happens to people every day who lose their sons or daughters. They just don't get the support that we've gotten."

Hancock said the best moments have come from people who stop to tell him how his son arranged a last-minute interview with coach Eddie Sutton, or helped them in some other way.

"That's what I love," Hancock said. "Being in the same business was wonderful. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

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