Oregon players wore the number 4 this week in honor of the late Spencer Webb. The Ducks junior tight end died after a fall at Triangle Lake July 13th. Teammates and coaches spoke at a celebration of his life July 21.
[00:00:13] Cam McCormick: Cam McCormick. First and foremost, I want to thank the Webb family for allowing me to speak on Spencer today. I had the pleasure of meeting Spencer and his family on his official visit almost five years ago, I was his host. He was pretty reserved on his visit. Nothing like the Spencer we all know now. He kept telling me he was from a small town in Northern California called Dixon, but he had big dreams and playing for Oregon had always been at the top of his list.
[00:00:37] As you all know, my college career has been riddled with unfortunate circumstances. There were times I wanted to quit and didn’t think I could do it anymore. Spencer was always there for me, every step of the way, offering encouraging words of advice to keep me going. He had a unique quality to always find the good in every situation and identify the positives.
[00:00:55] Spencer influenced many people throughout the years, but having a positive impact on children was always of the utmost importance to him. He loved the kids and they loved him.
[00:01:05] Every time we were out and about in Eugene, the kids were immediately drawn to Spencer and his charismatic personality. We could never get anywhere on time because Spencer would take as much time as needed to take pictures with everyone or sign autographs.
[00:01:18] He had an amazing presence on social media and built his brand around influencing younger athletes. He wanted each and every one to succeed, and he tried to encourage them any chance he was given.
[00:01:27] Isaah Crocker: Isaah Crocker. Brothers, Mr. Webb. First and foremost, I just want to say, I never thought it would ever come to this day that I, that I thought that I would lose my brother. I’m completely shattered… Spencer Webb, my brother, was in all honesty, a hard-working man from the jump. Yeah, there was mistakes played in his life, but it was understandable because he was the rose that grew from concrete. Coming from nothing, he learned to turn tragedy into beautiful triumph. And that’s where me and Spence connected the most. Growing up, we understood each other’s background and found out we had similar situations. We’ve had so much in common and that was special knowing that we both knew each other’s ultimate goals is what really pushed us.
[00:02:21] When we got to Oregon together as a package deal, we both had our ups and downs throughout college. When I was in the hell hole, Spencer was the first to check up on me and make sure that my head was straight.
[00:02:34] Stuff that brothers do is lovely because regardless if you make a mistake, they’ll still love you at the end of the day.
[00:02:43] Alicia Webb: I just want to say thank you all for coming here today to join us in remembering Spencer.
[00:02:50] My name is Alicia Webb and I had the privilege of helping to raise this very special young man. The first time I met Spencer was actually my first date with Cody. Cody invited me to one of his youth basketball games, where he was the coach on Spencer’s team. After the game, we took Spencer out to eat and the three of us got to know each other. I knew that Cody had a very unique relationship with his brother. And from that moment on, I could see just how special it was.
[00:03:30] Fast forward several years later, Spencer moved in with us… As you all have heard and know, it did not take long for Spencer to fit in because that’s what he did everywhere he went, he found a way to fit in and you found yourself loving him.
[00:03:50] We all know Spencer was a great football player, but Spencer was more than football. He was the best dancer in the room. He had a special handshake with everyone he knew. And when he saw you, he gave you some of the most incredible hugs.
[00:04:12] John Q: Spencer’s brother Cody Webb.
[00:04:14] Cody Webb: I just, first of all, want to say some thank-yous to the University, to the athletic department, to his team, Cam and Crocker to be specific in this moment, to the fans and the community, and some of the support he’s received after his passing has been extremely special.
[00:04:37] Coach Lanning and family, Coach Cristobal and the previous staff who helped guide him in those times, coach Drew (Mehringer), (Matt) Noyer, and Hawk (Jeff Hawkins) for some of the recent things, his counselor David who, me and him and Spence for the past few years have been in that space. And everyone in Dixon and in Sacramento, who’s helped guide him.
[00:05:12] Everybody doesn’t always do things the same way, as everyone knows, Spencer is a very layered person and he’s had a bit of a unique path.
[00:05:23] Some funny stories, kind of rapid fire.
[00:05:27] There’s a story that he told me, called me up all proud. And he said, ‘Hey, guess what?’ It’s just the randomest story. But it’s Spencer in a nutshell. They, in one of the team meetings, they listed like a gentleman’s name, and he said, ‘Coach said, who knows this guy?’ A hundred dudes in the room. No one did. Of course, Spence raises his hand. ‘Coach, that’s our janitor.’ And how much that meant not only to be one of a hundred, but also it just showed Spence is just that guy. He just looks at the room different. He treats every relationship….
[00:06:10] Some of the people who have coached with him is, you know, like, game’s on the line, deep in the playoffs. He played on some very successful teams, I don’t know how many, through his whole career, and game’s on the line, we’re coaching, we’re trying to make adjustments and two-minute clock management, right? So, boom, boom, crowd’s going crazy. And you know, did we get the play in? And he’s like, looks up at us, and he’s like, ‘Hey, can we go to Baskin-Robbins after this?’ Dude, like, this is the championship game! We’ve been out here grinding for like four months, you know?
[00:06:44] I’ll wrap some of these up, but I broke a record, which was a big deal for my family and swim team, held it for like 14 years. This dude broke every record, every age group, all the way up, and the kid broke my record, and next year Spencer is in that age group. And it was summertime around my birthday and he goes up and he’s like, ‘Hey, I got you something for your birthday.’ I’m like, what’s up. And he jumps on the starting blocks, breaks the record, says, ‘I got the record back in the family.’ And I was like, he’s just that dude, you know?
And I think one thing that I really commend him for is, he’s been in a lot of different environments and somehow, some way, no matter what environment you put him in, he just found a way socially or athletically.
[00:07:38] …I think our relationship started with myself and having a dream to do what you guys are doing today, like a lot of men in this room, guys are doing in this room and then it became our dream and then it became his dream.
[00:07:59] Coach Dan Lanning: I want to start by offering my wife Sauphia and I’s and our entire Oregon family, our deepest condolences to the family of Spencer, everyone that cared so much about him. And there’s no one that didn’t care about Spencer, ‘cause Spencer cared about so many people.
[00:08:20] This is a terrible tragedy that no family member, friend, teammate should ever experience. And my heart goes out to each and every one of you who have been impacted at the loss of Spencer.
[00:08:31] At times, I started to think about what I wanted to say and how I should prepare for this service. And I thought to myself: Why do I deserve to be the guy that gets to get up here and talk about Spencer Webb? I’ve known Spencer for about seven months, but I can tell you that anyone that’s truly known Spencer, it didn’t matter if you knew him for a day, or if you knew him for 10 years, you felt like you knew him forever. And you felt like you knew him for a lifetime.
[00:08:59] So I’m humbled and honored to get the opportunity to share some memories on Spencer.
[00:09:03] John Q: He said the coaches talk with the players about important character traits, and one of the traits is ‘connection.’
[00:09:08] Coach Dan Lanning: I really want to focus on those traits today, the one that I feel like Spencer most displayed on a daily basis and I think every one of our players would agree and that’s connection. I don’t think there’s a player in our program who embodied the trait more than Spencer. Every person on our team can share a similar story on Spencer Webb, whether it be after joining the program as a teammate or a coach or even an administrator, you must first go through the Spencer Webb orientation process.
[00:09:39] One common theme as an introduction on this team. As if you are going to meet someone, you must meet Spencer first. Don’t hide from him, ’cause he’ll find you. I remember my first day I met Spencer vividly. I had just got done giving my introductory press conference speech. And I walked back into my office and there’s Spencer plopped down on my couch and he had a list of things he was ready to talk about.
[00:10:05] First: ‘Coach, I want to change my jersey number.’ It’s my first day on the job, by the way. ‘How much is the tight end going to catch the ball?’ He didn’t ask me how much he was going to block, but he wanted to know how much is the tight end going to catch the ball? He said, ‘Hey, well, what, what do you think about wearing hats in the building? And earrings, I think that’d be really good for team morale,’ and I think you realized in that moment, how jovial Spencer was and how he always carried a smile.
[00:10:36] You know, later that day, my wife and my kids were moving around the building and they’d actually gotten lost, but guess who found them? Spencer. And as he led my wife and kids back to my office in that process, Spencer was able to connect with my wife Sauphia and find out that Spencer’s uncle Elliot went to the same school, Northwest Missouri State.
[00:10:59] He could talk to you for three minutes and by the end of the conversation, he would know where you’re from. and what makes you tick and maybe even your Social Security number. He could connect! Connect. Spencer in high school would go train with Elliot in the summer in Missouri. And I got to see a couple of those videos this past weekend of Spencer running up a hill, Elliot in the car blasting music, as he yells at Spencer to keep it rolling.
[00:11:28] Side note: I would later find out that Elliot wasn’t actually Spencer’s uncle. This is common if you know Spencer, but if you know Spencer, you know that if you’re connected with him, you’re his brother. You’re his uncle. You’re his aunt. You’re his friend. And you’re as good as family to him.
[00:11:46] Last weekend, when we were trying to decide what jersey we should frame, you know, for this service, there’s only one jersey that really made sense. This is the ohana jersey that our team wears. And as we all know, ohana is the Hawai’ian word for family. When we talked about that last weekend, it’s the only jersey choice that truly made sense when you think about Spencer, because if you knew Spencer, you were family to him.
[00:12:16] He was a giver. He had a big network, a big network and a big heart. And that network extended beyond his home, beyond the locker room, beyond all the things you can imagine, even the U.S., in fact. I was visiting with our athletic director earlier today, Rob Mullens, and he shared with me a special note, an email that had come through to him,
[00:12:38] I actually want to be able to share some thoughts from. This is a note that Spencer wrote. It was shared with us. You know, in the note you find that Spencer had written to a young boy named Carson that he had met on campus. Along with writing to Carson a wonderful note that would later be hung on Carson’s wall in his bedroom up until this day, Spencer sent one of his jerseys.
[00:13:05] Spencer shared how happy he was to have the biggest fan. Spencer shared he remembered being young and looking up to football players for inspiration. Spencer shared his dreams of being a Duck and encouraged Carson to chase that same dream. And he said, I quote, ‘Tell your brother I said hi. I got a big brother too.’
[00:13:23] He put his cell at the bottom of the message. And he said, ‘Call me at any time.’ And if you know Spencer like I know Spencer, ‘call me at any time’ really meant call me at any time. It also meant you might get called at any time. I know a lot of us can relate to that.
[00:13:41] There’s a poem called The Dash poem, and I’m not going to read the poem, but I would encourage you to read it if you get the time. In the poem it tells a story of a man and his tombstone, and how on that tombstone, there are two numbers, right: the numbers for the day you were born and the number for the day you die.
[00:14:01] But the most important part of that tombstone is the dash in between those numbers. And what you did with that dash. Spencer’s dash was special and what he accomplished and the people he impacted is hard to fathom. In his 22 years of life, Spencer’s dash did so much more than many people who have, who live much longer lives.
[00:14:23] My only hope is that I and the people in this room have a dash that make an impact like Spencer’s.
[00:14:33] John Q: The Ducks wear the number 4 in memory of Spencer Webb, April 7, 2000 – July 13, 2022.