TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - "I got a call from the school, asking if I had heard anything," remembered Godby head basketball coach Andy Colville of the moment he heard of sophomore Malcolm Sipling's passing. "I said, heard anything about what?"
Friday started like any other day for Colville. He took his kids to school, and was gearing up for a big Elite Eight match-up with Ribault- winner, goes to Lakeland for the State Final Four.
"It's the toughest thing I ever had to do as a coach and one of the toughest things I've ever had to deal with in my life," he said, choking back tears. "We love these kids, and we love Malcolm, to lose him, it's pretty tough."
What happened over the next couple of hours had Colville speechless. Not playing in the Regional Final? Not an option for this Cougar squad. They played- and they played for Malcolm.
"Malcolm wouldn't have let us do anything but play," he laughed. "He's such a hardworking kid. He would have said I want a ring. Most amazing group of young men I've ever been around in my life."
The Cougars played about nine hours after hearing the news, and even though they lost, Colville proud of his team.
"To play the biggest game of your lives, that you always dreamed of, to even compete, I have no words for it," he said. "They're the greatest group I ever coached as far as that."
That group will honor #42 for as long as Colville is at Godby- as no one will ever wear the number again.
"Malcolm will always be in our hearts, whether it's basketball or anything else," said Colville. "He was only here for a short time, but the impact he left on all of us, including me, is something I'll never forget."
To help the Sipling family, you can click here.