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Aggie great Deon Lendore killed in auto accident
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Aggie great Deon Lendore killed in auto accident

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Lendore helps set record

Texas A&M’s Deon Lendore looks to the crowd after anchoring the men’s 4x400-meter relay team at the SEC Indoor Championships on Saturday.  Lendore and his teammates won the event in NCAA record time.  

Texas A&M track and field volunteer coach Deon Lendore, an NCAA champion in the 400 meters for the Aggies, was killed in a head-on collision in Milam County on FM 485 while returning home from practice Monday.

The 29-year-old Lendore died after his car drifted across the center line, sideswiped a vehicle and then collided with a sport-utility vehicle, said Sgt. Bryan Washko, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Lendore died at the scene. The driver of the SUV, a 65-year-old woman, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, DPS said. The driver of the vehicle sideswiped by Lendore before the collision was not injured. The cause of the crash was under investigation Tuesday.

Lendore ran in the 2012, ’16 and ’20 Olympics and anchored Trinidad & Tobago to a bronze medal in the 4x400-meter relay in London in 2012. In 2014, he went undefeated in the 400 through 14 races while winning individual NCAA indoor and outdoor championships.

“He epitomized hope and joy each time his feet landed on the track,” Trinidad Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe said. “He was indeed a trailblazer, a life gone too soon. We thank him for everything he has done and for giving distinguished and diligent service to TT.”

Lendore spent the past two years as a volunteer assistant at A&M while he continued to compete professionally under contract with Puma.

“This is very difficult to express, I can’t even express this loss,” A&M head Pat Henry said. “Over the years our relationship had changed to not only one of my athletes to coach, but he was loved by my wife, children and grandchildren. He was part of my family. It hurts, it really hurts. My thoughts are with his family and the efforts to get through this very difficult period of time.”

Lendore competed at A&M from 2012-15. He became A&M’s first and only male winner of The Bowerman, which annually is awarded to the most outstanding collegiate track and field athlete. He was named A&M’s Male Athlete of the Year in 2014 (tie) and 2015.

“Deon Lendore leaves an enormous legacy not only at Texas A&M, but on the world stage,” A&M athletics director Ross Bjork said. “It is an unthinkable tragedy and tremendous loss for the track and field community and for Aggies everywhere. He was a wonderful representative of Texas A&M athletics both as a student-athlete and a volunteer coach, and we offer sincere condolences to Deon’s family, teammates and his friends.”

Lendore’s death is the second the A&M cross country and track and field programs have had to deal with in the last two months. Freshman Chance Gibson, who competed at The Woodlands, was killed in a crash driving home for Christmas last month.

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