Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Downright scary: Former KU guard Jeff Boschee safe from Joplin tornado’s destruction

Businesses near St. John’s Regional Medical Center show damage on Monday from the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, killing at least 116 people. Former Kansas University guard Jeff Boschee, an assistant coach at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, was not caught in the path of the tornado and sought shelter at his wife’s parents’ house in nearby Columbus (Kan.).

Businesses near St. John’s Regional Medical Center show damage on Monday from the tornado that hit Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, killing at least 116 people. Former Kansas University guard Jeff Boschee, an assistant coach at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, was not caught in the path of the tornado and sought shelter at his wife’s parents’ house in nearby Columbus (Kan.).


Former Kansas University basketball player Jeff Boschee, his wife, Jamie, and daughter, Mary Rose, were not caught in the path of Sunday afternoon’s deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo.

Safe and sound at Jamie’s parents’ house in nearby Columbus (Kan.), Boschee, an assistant coach at Joplin’s Missouri Southern State University, and his loved ones watched TV for live updates on the twister.

It’s a storm that claimed more than 100 lives and flattened neighborhoods, but did not hit Boschee’s house a mile north of Joplin in Webb City and did not harm Jamie’s salon and day spa business on South Main Street in Joplin.

The tornado also did not strike any buildings on the MSSU campus where Boschee has worked the past two seasons.

“It’s a huge relief to know your family is safe, but it’s terrible that so many other people out there are affected in so many ways,” Boschee said Monday afternoon, an hour after his cell phone service resumed after being knocked out for about 20 hours.

“The people that passed away ... lots of prayers go out to each and every one of those people,” Boschee added.

With heavy hearts, he, Jamie and Mary Rose returned to their Webb City home about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“Our neighborhood is fine. We’ve got a lot of friends and family that were hit pretty hard, especially in the area by St. John’s Hospital where the houses are completely gone. It’s pretty crazy stuff to have this hit home, not necessarily directly, but have friends and family hit directly by this,” Boschee said of some close acquaintances incurring severe property damage.

The tornado hit the hospital head on and splintered buildings such as the local Dillons and Walmart and sporting goods store.

Actually, thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.

“T.J. Williams, who is a player on our team … the house he rents is gone. He’s the only player on our team that was really affected,” Boschee said, indicating school let out a week ago. “Skyler Bowlin (player) was at a movie theater when it hit. When he got back out he saw devastation everywhere.

“My sister-in-law and brother-in-law work for my father-in-law’s electrical company. They are out right now assessing the damage out in the worst part. They said you don’t even know where you are at. It’s unrecognizable. Jamie’s uncle’s son-in-law has four rental properties. They were out driving around looking for the properties. They couldn’t even find them. They didn’t know where they were at (with street signs down and neighborhoods razed).”

The 31-year-old Boschee — who stayed out of Joplin Monday morning to let emergency workers be able to do their jobs — finally drove to work Monday afternoon.

But not to his office.

“There’s a shelter at the university. I’ll try to help out there,” Boschee said.

As far as the town’s rebuilding ... he’s hoping for the best.

“It looks terrible, something you’ve never seen before,” Boschee said of Joplin. “Joplin High School is totaled. They’ll have to rebuild it.

“Other towns have had the ability to rebuild. At a time like this, you don’t know how. You don’t know where to start. It’s kind of spooky. It’s kind of scary, but things will be rebuilt I’m sure. Things will be brighter a month or two down the road, but just looking at it now, you don’t understand how (this happened) and where you are going to start.”

The important thing, of course, is Boschee and family members are safe.

“I’ve heard from some of our KU guys — Nick Bradford, Brett Ballard. The guys texted and stuff to see if we were all right. I was able to text last night but not able to talk to anybody on my phone until today. It’s been crazy.”


Chris Bruning 10 years, 5 months ago

glad you're ok boschee family.....wish people of joplin would have had more time-more warning..... I lived in Joplin in 2005-2006. Apartments on 20th and Connecticut. My friend says the apts are not only gone, but he couldn't even tell where they used to be. very sad, thoughts and prayers to all in Joplin, MO

Jeff Harris 10 years, 5 months ago

Jeff Boschee! One of the all-time Jayhawk greats! So, so happy you and your family safely survived that thing. My heart breaks for those who didn't, and for the city of Joplin, which could hardly have taken a worse hit. The tornado cut a merciless path through much of what drives its economy, in addition to all of the human suffering.

No one could ever stop Jeff Boschee, star Jayhawk guard. No stinking twister was going to stop Coach Boschee Saturday night. That's for damn sure!

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 5 months ago

One of my favorites also. Glad everyone is safe Jeff!!

Brad Avery 10 years, 5 months ago

Glad Jeff is safe. Did not know he had moved to MSU. He is a great shooting coach. Surprise, surprise. He worked with my kid a few years ago under auspices of the Jeff Boschee Acadamey and did wonderful things for his shooting form and confidence. Would make a fantastic hire for the KU staff, Coach Self. Free throw percentage could improve dramatically.

fenix_hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I live just outside of Joplin and it is unbelievable the path of destruction this thing left. To top it off we have an 80% chance of another tornado touching down today. Please keep our area in your prayers. Today is the first real chance the search and rescue teams have been able to go out, gas and ammonia leaks and constant rain and lightning have really haltered the search efforts.

gchawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Consider it done, stay safe my friend. So glad that all is well for Jeff and his family.

Mike Kendall 10 years, 5 months ago

Jeff Booschee---------one of my all-time favorite players at KU. Glad to hear you and your family are okay. My wife went to college in Joplin and know a lot of folks who used to live there. It is totally unbelievable and surprising that there was little warning of it hitting the town. My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost relatives and for those who were affected by the twister.

Waylon Cook 10 years, 5 months ago

Tons of friends in Joplin due to the fact that I lived/worked there for 4 years. I am less than hour away in OK now and we didn't even get rain or wind. Flooding last night but no severe weather. I have got in touch with 90% of my friends and from what I gather rest are ok. My prayers go out to all!

Does anyone know if he married Jamie Simpson? She was a golfing fool!

turbomax 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes, his wife is Jamie. Jamie's sister Jill played golf for KU.

baldwinjhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Yup... That's his girl and all her gorgeousness....!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 5 months ago

Kusports all decade team should of had a play in round where shaved head Boschee took on Boschee with hair

Make_Ur_Free_Throws 10 years, 5 months ago

Glad to hear the Boschees are safe!!!

I sure miss those days when he was in Allen Fieldhouse . . .

RacerHawkA11 10 years, 5 months ago

I feel really bad for the people of Joplin, MO! They have my thoughts and prayers. As does everyone else going through tornadoes and disaster. I am glad some people made it, including the Boschees.


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