On Wednesday afternoon, Central Catholic High School said in an amended statement that the school does not have an official confirmation on the cause of Jamain Stephens’ death. Previously, the high school reported that Stephens died of complications from covid-19. Here is a portion of Central Catholic’s statement: “We had obtained the information about his passing from close friends of Jamain, who reached out to us with the news.”
California University of Pennsylvania defensive lineman and former Central Catholic standout Jamain Stephens died Tuesday “after suffering from complications of covid-19,” his former high school said in a statement.
Stephens, 20, was a senior business administration major at Cal U. He grew up in Pittsburgh and was the son of former Steelers offensive tackle Jamain Stephens.
University officials did not disclose Stephens’ cause of death, but Central Catholic acknowledged the virus in a Facebook post memorializing the 2017 graduate.
“Jamain was an avid Central Catholic supporter, and could often be found cheering on the Vikings and sending videos and messages of support and encouragement to his younger Viking brothers,” Central Catholic officials wrote.
Central Catholic assistant football coach Dave Fleming called Stephens “the best soul that I ever coached.”
— Central Catholic (@centralvikings) September 8, 2020
The team’s defense is nicknamed the Chain Gang, and a tradition among players is to carry a steel chain with each player’s name written on one link — a reminder that they’re all connected, Fleming said.
Stephens was the only player to use his nickname on his link: Juice.
“It never said Jamain, never said Stephens. Usually everybody’s last name is on the link. What a perfect name for a perfect kid,” he mused. “The kid had a lot of juice.”
Fleming said that energy poured out in the locker room, motivating the entire team.
“He would be the kid in the circle rapping off the top of his head,” he said. “He’d get everybody together and ready to go. He’d make sure everybody else was OK before himself.”
Cal U athletic director Karen Hjerpe called Stephens a wonderful student who had “a smile on his face every time you saw him.”
“His personality was contagious, and he made such a positive impact on everyone he met,” Hjerpe said.
The university listed him as 6 feet, 3 inches and 355 pounds.
In a 2015 interview with the Tribune-Review, Stephens said: “Anytime somebody asks me my name, they always refer to my father. I’m looking forward to making my own name.”