‘He’s going to be greatly missed’: VSU community pays tribute to ‘Coach Neal’

‘He’s going to be greatly missed’: VSU community pays tribute to ‘Coach Neal’

ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia State University community continues to mourn the death of DeAndrea Neal, also known as “Coach Neal.”

On Monday morning, members of the Trojan family gathered on the back lawn of Foster Hall for a tribute and balloon release honoring Neal’s legendary legacy that spans more than 30 years.

On Saturday, Virginia State University announced that Neal passed away on Friday, April 9.

Virginia State University says “Coach Neal” carried many titles including assistant director of Student Activities, Director of Student Conduct and Greek Life and evening supervisor of the Student Union.

Neal’s work at VSU started as a freshman in 1986. He also played on the football team.

After he graduated from both his undergraduate and graduate programs, Neal continued to work for his alma mater.

Regina Barnett-Tyler, interim associate vice president for student success and engagement, says she used to be classmates with Neal. She says she will always remember him for his big smile, big presence and big heart.

“He fed people. He housed people. He prayed for them. He made sure they weren’t alone in certain places,” she said. “I mean, he did so much. To say going above and beyond the call of duty is certainly a disservice to things he has done for Virginia State University and our Trojans.”

In 1995, Coach Neal was inducted into the Delta Omega chapter for Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.

His involvement in Greek Life continued as the Director of Student Conduct and Greek Life and as the advisor to the fraternity’s Nu Psi chapter.

VSU senior Glenn Crawley Jr., the president of this chapter, says he made a big impact on their life.

“He became a father figure to me,” he said.

Balloons were also released to the sky to remember “Coach Neal’s” legendary legacy.

“He’s going to be greatly missed,” said Barnett-Tyler. “He would want us to carry on. We’ve got to continue serving our Trojans.”

According to Neal’s online obituary, his family is requesting donations for “The DeAndrea Neal Memorial Scholarship” to honor his passion to serve VSU students.

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