Warner Pacific Knights dedicate season to assistant coach's daug - KPTV - FOX 12

Warner Pacific Knights dedicate season to assistant coach's daughter, Annieka Vaughan

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Annieka and her father Rick. (Courtesy: Rick Vaughan) Annieka and her father Rick. (Courtesy: Rick Vaughan)

Nearly a month has passed since 15-year-old Annieka Vaughan of Aloha was found dead near Pittock Mansion. Vaughan was a victim of a murder suicide. Police believe 23-year-old Zachary Petersen shot her before turning the gun on himself.

The sudden loss of Annie has left her father, Rick Vaughan, in shock. But on Friday night, there was a special dedication in her honor.

Rick is the assistant coach at Warner Pacific College. Friday was his first time back with his team since he lost his daughter. 

This year, the Warner Pacific Knights will be dedicating their season to Annie.

“It’s the family created here at Warner Pacific that’s really helped me get through the darkest days of my life,” said Rick.

After nearly a month of mourning the sudden loss of Annie, Rick is now back where he belongs; on the court.

“Definitely emotional, it’s my first game back after being gone for almost a month,” said Rick.

“He just brings a dynamic to the team that we don’t have when he’s not here, he’s real fiery on the bench,” said head assistant coach, Steffen Harvey.

“He’ll be the loudest on the bench for sure, you’ll hear that tonight,” said college senior and teammate, Donnie Bowman.

Teammates of the Warner Pacific Knights said their coach’s heartbreak could be felt during every practice that he missed.

“This is a step to coming back to whatever normal life looks like,” said Rick.

“I’m playing my senior year for (Rick) and for Annie. This great guy’s response was no, it’s your senior year, you have family. I’m like, let me do this one thing for you please,” said Bowman.

The Knights are dedicating the season to Rick and his daughter.

“We know she’s watching over us, we feel like we have an extra player there, so we’re invincible now,” said Bowman.

With every shot, pass, win, or loss – the team says it will keep Annie’s memory close.

“My daughter was love and life. She really gave unconditional love, selflessly all the time. Coming back to Warner, I get those same feelings from the team,” said Rick.

The players said they will wear tee-shirts with Annie’s picture before every game.

“I started to ball, it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Rick.

It’s clear, the team is more of a family, and will come out on top, together.

“This is our guy, this is our family - whatever happened to his family is a part of us,” said Harvey.

“Everything I do now, has to be with a purpose, and honors my daughter memory,” said Rick.

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