The Northwestern State University family came together in grief following the tragic loss of alumna Carley McCord, a well-known sports journalist and digital media reporter who was one of five people killed in a plane crash in Lafayette Saturday, Dec. 28. Friends remembered McCord as a remarkable and involved student who stayed in touch with her NSU family and was a devoted Demon supporter.
McCord, 30, earned a degree in journalism at NSU in 2011. As an undergraduate, she worked in NSU’s Recruiting Office for four years where she was a Student Ambassador and gave tours to prospective students.
“She was driven, energetic and was out to set the world on fire,” said Jana Lucky, NSU’s former director of Recruiting, now director of Enrollment Services. “Carley was very determined, but also kind and genuine. She was well-known in sports media throughout the state and always used the hashtag #womeninsports. She was a loyal Demon.”
NSU Athletic Director Greg Burke first built a connection with McCord when she approached him about career advice in athletics.
“I told her the best commodity you have is time and how you use it. She invested time and energy to advancing her career, which was on an upward trajectory,” Burke said. “She was vibrant, energetic, professional and detail oriented. She knew sports and she was good with people. A word I think of when I think of Carley is aspire. I know she was headed to a bigger stage and wanted to be a pioneer for women in sports media. The loss of someone of her ability is shocking and sad but her legacy will carry itself forward.”
McCord was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. A talented vocalist, she was crowned Miss Northwestern-Lady of the Bracelet in 2010 when her fellow contestants voted her Miss Congeniality.
McCord was a frequent visitor to Northwestern State and supported the NSU Foundation as a Columns Fund member. By Sunday, family and Tri Sigma alumnae were working with Director of Development Jill Bankston and Associate Director Danielle Antoon Cobb, a sorority sister and family friend, to create the Carley McCord Memorial Scholarship. Bankston said she and her staff will work with the McCord family to finalize scholarship criteria, which will most likely benefit young women pursuing careers in media.
McCord was a Baton Rouge native who followed her older sister Kaleigh McCord Pederson to Northwestern State. She worked as a digital media reporter for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches and was the in-game host for the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The group on the twin engine plane was traveling to Atlanta to attend the Peach Bowl, where McCord’s father-in-law Steve Ensminger Sr. would help coach the LSU Tigers to a win. Because of the connection to LSU, as well as McCord’s vast network of friends and colleagues in media, news of the tragedy traveled quickly and initiated an outpouring of love and support to the McCord and Ensminger families.
“Anyone who knew Carley knew she was the most energetic, passionate person, a person who embraced opportunity,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “The news took our breath away. So many of us knew her as a very motivated and involved student and watched her career blossom into the professional that she was. She loved her university and always remembered where she came from. Carley was a role model and an inspiration to so many while she walked this earth.”
To make a contribution to the Carley McCord Memorial Scholarship, visit http://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/donations/carley-mccord-memorial-scholarship or contact Bankston at firstname.lastname@example.org or (318) 357-4241.