CMU DB Derrick Nash, 20, dies of leukemia

Detroit News staff and wires
Derrick Nash

Mount Pleasant — Central Michigan defensive back Derrick Nash, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 when he was still in high school, has died. He was 20.

Paradise Funeral Chapel says Nash died Monday at University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.

Nash was a freshman who signed with Central Michigan in February 2013, but was diagnosed with leukemia that May as he neared the end of his senior year at Carrollton High School in Saginaw. After undergoing chemotherapy treatment, Nash joined the team in 2014 and took part in spring practice.

The Central Michigan athletic department says he was on schedule to claim a spot on the active roster for the 2014 season when doctors found the leukemia had returned.

Central Michigan honored Nash last season with a helmet sticker and team members wore #NashStrong wristbands. He served as the team's honorary captain for the 2014 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.

Nash was a running back at Carrollton and ranked the No. 57 on The Detroit News Blue Chip list in 2013.

"Derrick fought a great fight and he will never be forgotten," first-year CMU head coach John Bonamego said. "I know everyone can learn a lot from the way he lived his life and the passion and enthusiasm he showed even during the tough times.

"I never got to coach Derrick on the football field, but I am proud to have been his coach the last few months. He is one of the toughest young men I have ever known and the determination and resolve he showed is how we will always remember him."

Funeral arrangements are pending.