By Ethan Bernal
Special to the Advertiser
AUBURN — Amidst the Labor Day celebrations, the Auburn football family received somber news on Monday.
Iris Prosch, mother of fullback Jay Prosch, passed away Sunday morning after battling brain cancer since April 2011.
“As everybody has heard, unfortunately this morning Jay Prosch’s mother passed away,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “We just ask that everybody keeps him in their thoughts and prayers and it’s a very difficult situation as you would imagine. We’re trying to all be very respectful of the situation.”
Chizik said there are no details on funeral arrangements or Prosch’s availability for Saturday’s matchup against Mississippi State. Chizik said those details will be released by Tuesday.
Prosch, a Mobile native, transferred from Illinois in January to be closer to his ailing mother. Iris was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a grade-four brain cancer.
In January, Prosch spoke about transferring.
“She was just like, ‘I wish you didn’t have to leave. I wish you were closer so you could come home more,’” Prosch said.
So that’s what he did.
“It has nothing to do with the school,” Prosch said. “It’s really about the coaching change, and that sparked the idea that since there’s a coaching change, maybe I can be closer to my mom.”
Iris had been undergoing experimental treatment at Duke University last spring. She went through four months of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, along with two brain surgeries.
She then received treatment at The Mitchell Cancer Center in Mobile and checked back into Duke every two months.
Chizik spoke with Prosch on Monday morning.
“He’s at home,” Chizik said. “He’s doing fine, as fine as you can be under the circumstances.”
Prosch’s teammates have been showing support via social media.
“Please pray for my brother Jay Prosch and his family,” tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen tweeted.
“Prayers for my dude Jay Prosch,” tweeted kicker Cody Parkey.
Prosch made his debut with the Tigers on Saturday against Clemson.
Prosch cleared the way for 180 yards on the ground and recovered a fumble on Auburn’s final drive.
Prosch was All-American fullback for Illinois as well as a large contributor on special teams, winning the team’s special teams player of the year award in 2011.
The NCAA awarded Prosch a hardship waiver in June, making him immediately eligible to play for the Tigers.
Following Saturday’s 26-19 loss to Clemson, Prosch said how much he enjoyed his first game at Auburn.
“It was definitely a different feel than Illinois … just the fans and the environment,” Prosch said. “I really enjoyed it. It was awesome.”