ORONO, Maine — The news that former UMaine football player  and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself on Saturday was met with uniform reaction by his former teammates and coaches: Shock.

“I’m hard-pressed to find or recall a young man who had more of an impact in a positive way on his team-mates and his football family in my time here,” UMaine football coach Jack Cosgrove said Saturday. “He’s truly one of the great stories in the program’s history.”

Belcher was involved on campus with the Male Athletes Against Violence initiative and mentored a young man in the Big Brothers program, according to Bangor Daily News archives.

Members of Male Athletes Against Violence sign a pledge to educate themselves on domestic violence issues, to act as positive role models and to examine their own actions honestly.

He came to UMaine as a wrestler, according to Cosgrove, but went on to go first-team All-American. He finished his degree in just 3 1/2 years, which Cosgrove called “a tremendous accomplishment for a student-athlete.”

“Family was paramount for Jovan, you could see it at every game,” Dwayne Wilmot, Belcher’s position coach at UMaine, told USA Today. “His family showed up in force. He relished the opportunity to make them proud as a student and an athlete. He did what he did for their love and their adulation.”

The Sports Xchange contributed to this report