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  • New scholarship launched in honor of coach who died young


    By Cynthia Hubert 

    Jeff Law’s time at Sacramento State was short, but his legacy – kept alive by people who loved him – is expected to endure.

    A new scholarship has been established to honor Law, who was a strength and conditioning coach for University athletes. He took his own life in August 2015 at the age of 25.

    Jeff Law brought energy and innovation to his work building up Sac State athletes. A scholarship in his name will honor his contributions. (Photo courtesy of Edward and Julie Law)

    The Jeffrey D. Law Memorial Scholarship will support students who have demonstrated career interest in the strength and conditioning field. A close friend of Law’s, Charles Li, collaborated with Jeffrey’s parents, Edward and Julie Law, on the effort.

    The scholarship fund was launched with $15,000, with a goal of $25,000. From that, $1,000 will be awarded to one student each year.

    A Swarm Fund page has been established to help raise money toward the $25,000 goal.

    Students can apply for the scholarship beginning this semester, and the first award will be made in the Fall 2020 semester.

    Eligible students must be juniors, seniors or graduate students and have career goals related to strength and conditioning. They must have a minimum GPA of 3.5. The Department of Kinesiology will select scholarship recipients.

    “Jeff was a truly unique individual, and it’s a privilege to establish this scholarship in his name,” said Li, an entrepreneur who lives in San Francisco.

    Law was beloved by athletes and fellow coaches during his tenure at Sac State in 2014 and 2015, endeared to them in part by what they saw as his unbridled energy.

    His familiar words of encouragement, “Keep Smashin',” appear on a sign on the door of the Sac State women’s soccer team room. It serves as inspiration for players, and they tap the sign when they exit the room en route to practice or games.

    An Iowa native, Law earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s from Texas Tech, where he was an intern with the Olympic strength and conditioning department and taught undergraduate classes in diet and exercise. He interned with the University of Mississippi football coaching staff in 2013.

    Law came to Sac State in 2014 as an assistant coach, designing and overseeing training programs for members of the golf, soccer and football teams. His family members and friends said Law loved his work and was constantly searching for ways to enhance athletic performance.

    “It was truly a passion for him,” said Li, who met Law through a mutual friend while both were in college. They remained close even as their career paths took them to different cities.

    “He would have knocked it out of the park wherever he chose to work," Li said.

    Outwardly, Law projected enthusiasm and confidence; Li said “it was a shock” when Law killed himself.

    “Jeff had such a profound impact on so many people’s lives,” Li said. “He was always such a positive person. Having him around you just made you feel happier. It’s rare to have someone like that in your life.”

    Upon Law’s death, Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen and his wife, Jody, who lost their son Seth to suicide in 2001, reached out to Law’s parents. The two couples met at the University and shared their grief and support.

    Julie Law said her family has “experienced joy, laughter and happy moments” since Jeff’s death, but “there is an ache that never goes away.”

    “Each of our family thinks of Jeff every day,” Edward Law said. “I personally miss his quick wit and sense of humor the most.”

    The Sac State scholarship will “help preserve Jeff’s memory,” he said.

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