Feb. 2, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech student-athlete Tyrone Duplessis, a running back on the football team, passed away early this morning at his off-campus apartment in Ruston.
Duplessis, 21, was in his third year at Louisiana Tech. The team was informed of his death during a team meeting Thursday morning. Grief counselors have been made available to the team through the University.
"Tyrone was a valuable part of this football family," head coach Sonny Dykes said. "This is a tragic, senseless loss, but he made a lasting impact on this team, University and everyone that knew him."
Hazel Woods, chief investigator for the Lincoln Parish coroner's office, says the cause of death is not yet known. An autopsy is pending.
"We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tyrone Duplessis this morning," said Louisiana Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau. "Tyrone was not only a valuable member of our football program, but much more importantly, he was a valued member of the Tech Family. This is a painful loss for our campus community and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family."
A native of New Orleans, Duplessis ran the ball seven times this season with a long rush of seven yards as he sought to come back from a knee injury that sidelined him during the 2010 season. Six of those carries came in the regular season finale against New Mexico State as Louisiana Tech clinched a WAC title with a 44-0 win.
He played in nine games during his freshman season (2009), running the ball 70 times for 277 yards and returning four kickoffs a total of 88 yards. He ran for a career-high 75 yards on 14 carries in a nationally-televised game against Hawaii while running the ball 17 times for 65 yards on Nov. 14 at No. 7 LSU, helping Louisiana Tech hold a 13-10 lead at halftime.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tyrone and his family," said Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde. "Tyrone was a special young man who was loved and respected by the Tech Family. He will be dearly missed, but I am sure his teammates and friends will honor and remember him through their commitment to fulfilling their potential."
Duplessis came to Louisiana Tech as an all-state running back from O.P. Walker High School in New Orleans where he won a state championship in 2007. Funeral arrangements are pending.
He is survived by his parents, George and Mary, and two siblings, George III and Levoneshia Dixon.