COLLEGE: LMU's David Kucera, 1991-2011
It was one of the things that sprung to mind for LMU coach Paul Krumpe as he talked about the sophomore forward, who died unexpectedly Sunday at his Marina del Rey apartment.
"He was super smart, a very good-looking kid," Krumpe said Wednesday. "There always was a story about the girls he had been dating -- the guys were always telling some stories. Or about how David always seemed to have a girl on the handle bars [of his bicycle]. They'd be coming to practice, and Dave would be riding the other way, giving a girl a ride home."
Kucera, 19, a 6-foot-3 defender-turned-forward from Cupertino, near San Jose, appears to have died from natural causes, an athletic department spokesman said, but results from an autopsy have not yet been released. Memorial services are pending.
Krumpe, who played for the U.S. in the 1990 World Cup, met with his team to inform the players Monday morning, and they took part in a campus prayer service that the coach called "a good start to our grieving process. This is certainly something that will take awhile for all us to come through."
"The team is still in a state of shock at the moment," Krumpe said. "When you stop and think about it, he was the least likely candidate for someone to pass away. He was so big, so strong, so athletic and so outgoing. It really hasn't resonated with us yet."
Kucera made eight appearances last fall for the Lions. He scored his first collegiate goal in a 3-2 victory Nov. 7 over Gonzaga, helping LMU toward a share of West Coast Conference title. He played in two games as a freshman.
"Dave was probably the most athletic guy on our team ..." Krumpe said. "And probably our hardest worker on the field and in the weight room. That alone, the team's going to feel the impact. He was voted most improved player by the team this year, was transitioning to become a forward. He was just kind of learning that new role. A lot of great things were happening with how he was doing."
Krumpe said the most-improved player award "from now on will be the Dave Kucera Award."
"He was a smart kid, on the dean's list, very outgoing, always a smile on his face. The most clean-cut, super kid that is out there nowadays. This is really a shock."