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Boise State mourns 2007 Fiesta Bowl team member Austin Smith

Austin Smith, 36, died July 9 in Arizona. His death came less than a week after another Bronco alum, Greg Grimes, was shot and killed in California.
Credit: Boise State Athletics

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State University has lost two alumni of its football program this month: Greg Grimes, 31, who was shot and killed early the morning of July 4 in Sacramento, California, and Austin Smith, 36, who had been living in the Phoenix area.

Smith died July 9 in Sedona, Arizona. He was with family members at Oak Creek, a popular swimming and cliff-jumping area. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office said family members reported Smith had jumped multiple times off of a cliff 15 to 20 feet above the creek, but on his last jump, he did not surface. Family members tried to find him and called 911. The sheriff's office, Coconino County Search and Rescue and the Sedona Fire Department searched and, about an hour later, found him under a ledge about 25 yards from where he had entered 15 to 20 feet of water.

"At this time, this appears to be a tragic accident," a spokesperson for the sheriff's office told KTVB in an email, adding that the medical examiner's office will make the conclusion as to the cause of Smith's death. The sheriff's office also said drugs or alcohol are not suspected.

Smith graduated in 2008 from Boise State, where he studied psychology and played defensive back on the Broncos team that capped off a 13-0 season with a thrilling overtime victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. After graduating from Boise State, Smith coached football at San Bernardino Valley College and in Europe with teams based in Germany and Poland.

Since learning of Smith's and Grimes's deaths, teammates and other members of the Bronco football community have expressed their sadness.

"We are saddened by the recent terrible losses within the Boise State Brotherhood. Please enjoy the people in your life and make a positive impact because tomorrow isn't guaranteed," read a tweet from Boise State Football.

Former Bronco defensive lineman Alex Guerrero has posted that he is helping coordinate fundraisers for Grimes's and Smith's families and children.

Guerrero says on Twitter that the benefits, still to be determined, might take the form of a restaurant charity night, bowling night or concert. Guerrero also hopes they'll be an opportunity for the Bronco football family to reunite.

"Ultimately would love nothing more than to unite as many (Bronco football) brothers past & present to fellowship with each other and remember how blessed we all are to have the memories we created together," he wrote. "Those same memories that will help us carry on our lost brothers' legacies; To create new memories that will uplift us in the future; To re-energize what becomes mundane as we move on to our next lives. To remember just how lucky we are to have each other."

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