Remembering a Teammate

Chris Love's passing impacted a lot of people, including his former teammates who were close to him. CN's Jack Whitver was one of those people. Whitver lived with Love for a period of time and was a very close friend of Chris's. In this piece, Whitver talks about what Love meant to him, his team and the Iowa State family.

CN: Talk about your relationship with Chris. What was he like as a teammate?

 

Whitver: Chris and I played together for four years at Iowa State. We were roommates for about a year and a half. During his time at Iowa State, he was definitely a special part of the team. He was a back-up QB from the day that he walked on campus, but the thing that I remember most about Chris is when he had an opportunity to become a starter, he got into a little trouble. He was suspended for the first game and he never quite regained that starting job. He lost it to Austin Flynn, but the thing about Chris was that he kept a positive attitude, he kept practicing hard and he kept praying hard. By mid-season, he came in as a back-up and had a good second half against Texas Tech, and then he ended up starting the game against Texas, which was his hometown team. That's something that the dreamed about when he signed on to play at Iowa State. That was his dream, to start against the Texas Longhorns. It was his hometown team and his favorite team growing up. With hard work and perseverance, he was able to accomplish that at Iowa State. A lot of guys would have turned their back on the team after getting in trouble, a lot of guys would have become a bad influence on everybody else, but Chris always had that positive attitude.

 

CN: Talk about the golf tournament and having all of your old teammates and Chris's family together. What was that like for you?

 

Whitver: The golf tournament was a very bittersweet day for me as well as a lot of the other former players. We had a lot of old friends together and memories together. There was one piece missing, and that was Chris. You never like to have a reunion based on those circumstances. It was very bittersweet but it was a very special day. His family was able to come up. His dad drove Chris's truck all the way up from Texas with some uncles and cousins. Just to see them and be able to support them, I know that meant a lot to them and it meant a lot to us to get a chance to talk to Mr. Love. We wanted to let him know how much Chris meant to everybody, football players and others. Chris had a lot of great friends who weren't football players. It was a special day but we would give anything to have Chris playing golf with us instead of playing in his honor.

 

CN: Did you get a chance to talk to Mr. Love? If so, how was he doing?

 

Whitver: I think that he was overwhelmed with the support that he got and the number of people who came. Some guys Chris only played with a year like Sage Rosenfels. Here's a guy who has been in the NFL for four or five years, and he's coming back to play for Chris. His dad was extremely overwhelmed and grateful for what the football team has done for him. Kyle Knock put the tournament together. He was grateful for that. He said that it was extremely hard. When they were showing video clips of Chris playing during dinner, that's tough for him. Chris was his only son and somebody who he was really proud of. He's still coping with this scenario but I think that overall, he was grateful for all of the Cyclone's who came out.

 

CN: What about all of the former teammates when Chris passed? Did you use each other for support?

 

Whitver: We were all in such shock. Originally this golf tournament was supposed to be a fundraiser to help with his ongoing battle with cancer. Things happened so quick that it became a memorial and we, as former teammates would stay on the phone talking about what's going on and what the outlook is. We were trying to plan trips down there to visit him. We talked a lot. Of the guys who were close to him, we talked almost daily trying to get new updates and figure out what was going on. Without the rest of those guys, it would have been tough. Everybody stayed close and kept him in our thoughts and supported each other.

 

CN: I know that Chris was really close to Austin Flynn. Talk just a little bit about the special relationship that those two had.

 

Whitver: I think that Austin and Chris had a very natural friendship when Austin came up. They were both from Texas. They had a lot in common. They had the same personality, they both played QB. They got along great, which is kind of ironic but it also tells you what kind of people both of those guys are. They were fighting each other for that starting QB job in 2003 and instead of becoming enemies, they got closer and they helped each other out. Like I said, Chris probably had a great chance to win that job before he got in trouble, but he never turned his back. Those two were extremely close on and off of the field. I think that a lot of it is their Texas attitude and their Texas past. They were really close and it was extremely tough for Austin. Chris was kind of his mentor at Iowa State. He showed him the ropes at the QB position, off the field and everything. That was really tough on Austin.

 

 


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