April 3, 2010

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Future University of Notre Dame student-athlete Matt James died Friday evening after falling from a fifth-floor balcony at a hotel in Panama City, Fla.

James, a 17-year-old senior at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, signed a letter of intent on Feb. 3 to join the Fighting Irish football team. He was on spring break with friends when the accident occurred.

“The Notre Dame football program is in a state of disbelief and incredible sadness with the news of this tragic event,” Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Matt James in this most trying of times.

“On a personal level, I got to know Matt quite well over the past few years and he was a wonderful young man from a great family. Matt was an extremely talented person who was very bright and possessed a great dry sense of humor. He could not wait to join the Notre Dame family.

“My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the James family as well as the St. Xavier High School and Cincinnati communities.”

James was named to USA Today’s first-team prep All-America team following his senior season and received All-America accolades from MaxPreps and SuperPrep. A three-year starter for head coach Steve Specht at St. Xavier, James participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and also played basketball at St. Xavier.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 9, at St. Xavier High School, 600 W. North Bend Road, in Cincinnati. A closing prayer service begins at 8 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 10, at St. Xavier Church in downtown Cincinnati. The church is located at 607 Sycamore Street. Committal prayers and burial will be conducted in private for the family.

Memorials may be made to the Mathew James Scholarship Fund, care of St. Xavier High School, 600 W. North Bend Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224.

The James family has requested no media attend the visitation or the Mass of Christian Burial.