Richmond, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - University of Richmond women's basketball staff members Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis are both believed to have been killed when a hot air balloon they were aboard crashed Friday in Caroline County, Va.
A statement released by the university Saturday confirmed that both Doyle and Lewis were two of three passengers on the balloon and that Virginia State Police have recovered two of the bodies, neither of which have been officially identified.
Doyle, a 1992 Richmond graduate and former player for the Spiders, has been an assistant at the school for 16 years and was promoted to associate head coach in 2011.
Lewis won four varsity letters as a swimmer for Richmond and was entering her third season as director of basketball operations. She graduated from UR in 2011.
"As alumnae, classmates, and colleagues -- and as invaluable and devoted mentors for our student-athletes -- Ginny and Natalie have been beloved members of our community," said Richmond president Edward L. Ayers. "Their leadership and friendship will endure in the lives of so many."
Atlantic 10 Conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade also released a statement regarding the tragedy.
"Our deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to the Doyle and Lewis families; as well as the Richmond women's basketball student-athletes, staff, coach [Michael] Schaffer and athletic department staff," said McGlade. "This tragic accident is a painful reminder of the precious gift of life -- condolences are inadequate, so we stand ready to support our Richmond family in every way possible."