Miami gives Everett's family her posthumous degree

Associated Press Modified: October 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm •  Published: October 14, 2012

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Austen Everett never played at Miami, and if the Hurricanes have their way, she'll never be forgotten.

The former women's soccer goalkeeper was honored by the school Sunday, exactly two months after the 25-year-old died after a long fight with cancer. Everett was on Miami's roster from 2007 through 2009 but never got into a match, first because of NCAA transfer rules and then after she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2008.

Still, she remains a Hurricane. Miami's players — many of whom never personally knew her — wore special warm-up shirts in her honor before Sunday's match against Virginia Tech, and fans were offered information about how to help the Austen Everett Foundation, which she started to help children who are fighting cancer.

"It means so much," Everett's mother, June Leahy, said of the tributes. "It means everything to us."

University president Donna Shalala and acting athletic director Blake James also attended Sunday and presented Everett's family with her posthumous degree as a surprise.

Maybe it was fitting, on a day when Miami honored a goalie, the Hokies and Hurricanes finished in a scoreless tie.

"Austen was a tremendous representative of our program," James said. "And her legacy lives on through her foundation."

Everett fought the disease all the way to the end, even thinking that she beat it on more than one occasion. She was undeterred by what effects cancer had on her body — flaunting wigs proudly when chemotherapy took away her long blonde hair. Even six weeks before her death, Everett was putting together presentations about how cancer patients could dress in a manner that might hide some of the outward signs of their illness.

In a 2010 interview with The Associated Press, Everett also said the disease brought her unbelievable amounts of joy, in a way she never expected.

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