College football honors reporters Edward Aschoff and Carley McCord during 2020 National Championship Game
As reporters gathered in the press box at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the College Football National Championship Game, there were two spaces reserved for journalists who died in December.
Aschoff 'always put people first'
Aschoff, an ESPN college football reporter, died on his 34th birthday December 24, according to the network.
Earlier that month, Aschoff tweeted he had pneumonia.
"Anyone ever had multifocal (bilateral) pneumonia in their early 30s as some who never gets sick and has a very good immune system? Asking for two friends ... my lungs," he tweeted on December 5.
Aschoff started working for ESPN.com as a reporter based in Atlanta. He moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to begin a more expanded national role that included television coverage.
Over the past three seasons, Aschoff reported from campuses across the country for ESPN.com, SportsCenter, SEC Network and ESPN Radio, and worked as a television and radio sideline reporter during college football games, a release from ESPN said.
"Ed was one of the smartest, brightest reporters I've ever had the pleasure of working with," ESPN Executive Editor Lauren Reynolds said. "For as good of a reporter Ed was, he was an even better person. He always put people first -- those whose stories he told, and those who had the honor of working alongside him."
McCord remembered for her 'infectious personality'
McCord, a sports reporter with WDSU television in New Orleans, was one of five people who died in a plane crash headed for the college football playoff semifinal in Atlanta on December 28.
She was the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger.
McCord served as in-game host for the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. The teams remembered McCord's "infectious personality" in a joint statement.
McCord was also a former employee of 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge.
Joel Vilmenay, the WDSU's president and general manager, said McCord had extensive knowledge of all Louisiana sports teams.
"Carley's passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist," he said. "As we reflect on her impressive body of work, we offer our deepest condolences to her family."