NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Being an athlete on a team is often about more than playing the sport.
“Part of coaching is not just on the field, or in the water, or on the court,” said Dave Hrovat, diving coach at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. “It’s that family issues and everything like that.”
Hrovat has been the diving coach at Clarion for more than three decades, but he said there was something special about Caitlyn Kaufman and her graduating class of divers.
“I had many, many kids in my 31 years, but they were very close to one another,” Hrovat said. “I could be in a very, very bad mood the day of practice, and she could walk in and between her and her teammates, change the feeling the of the surroundings.”
Hrovat said Kaufman was always smiling, and it was contagious.
“So compassionate about everything, always willing to help and wanted to help people,” Hrovat said, describing Kaufman. “Without a doubt, she loved doing what she was doing.”
That desire to help others is what led Kaufman to attend nursing school and then start her career in Nashville. Kaufman was on her way to work at the St. Thomas West ICU on December 3, 2020, when she was shot and killed on Interstate-440.
“I do not understand it. I do not get it. I don’t think anyone that’s been affected or touched by something like this really understands it,” Hrovat said. “They kind of watch the news and say, ‘holy cow, another incident,’ until it hits at home.”
Devaunte Hill, 21, and James Cowan, 28, were indicted on first degree murder charges in May.
A friend testified that Hill said he got angry when Kaufman cut him off while he was driving, so he ‘shot up her car’.
This was just one of many shootings in Middle Tennessee spurred by road rage over the past year.
“If someone doesn’t use a blinker or blows a horn at you, it’s just ridiculous to pull out a gun and start shooting at people,” Hrovat said.
Hrovat called Caitlyn’s death senseless, but he knows she’ll be remembered for the lives she helped while on this earth rather than the way she left it.
Caitlyn’s second alma mater, Butler County Community College in Pennsylvania, has set up the Caitlyn Kaufman Legacy Nursing Scholarship in her honor.
Her high school diving coach is also holding a fundraiser this summer.
For information about contributing to the Caitlyn Kaufman ’18 Legacy Nursing Scholarship, visit BC3’s website at bc3.edu or send a check payable to the BC3 Education Foundation Inc.
You can also send a check in the mail to:
BC3 Education Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 1203
Butler, PA, 16003
Please note in the memo section “Caitlyn Kaufman Legacy Scholarship”.