Christopher Dorner victims Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence
Christopher Dorner victims Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence

IRVINE - A memorial service will be held Sunday at Concordia University in Irvine for Cal State Fullerton women's assistant basketball coach Monica Quan and her fiance Keith Lawrence, the first two people authorities say were murdered by fired Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Dorner.

Quan and Lawrence met when they were students and basketball players at Concordia University.

Sunday's service is " going to be extremely tough," said Tim Preuss, Concordia's dean of arts and science, who met Quan and Lawrence when he was the university's athletic director.

"Monica and Keith were both great students, great leaders and both were really talented athletes as well," Preuss said.

"They were widely known, dearly loved. We're still trying to wrap our heads around this senseless tragedy that took them so quickly and unexpectedly."

Quan started her coaching career at Concordia as she worked on her master's degree in coaching and athletic administration.

"Usually a new-kid-on-the-block young coach stays in the background," Preuss said. 'But that wasn't Monica. She wasn't a pushy person, but she was really intense."

Assistant coaches usually stay seated through a game, but Quan was often on her feet, Preuss said.

"The ref will give a head coach a little latitude, but here's Monica, a first-year graduate assistant, she's on her feet, stomping on the floor because some kid's not doing what they were supposed to or she didn't like the ref's call," Preuss said.

Preuss also recalled the time Lawrence "made an incredible 3-point shot to extend a game into a fourth overtime, which we ended up winning." A clip of that shot on YouTube was often played on television newscasts following the couple's slaying Feb. 3.

"He was just one of those people who was a fierce competitor on the court, but off court he was so friendly, so genial," Preuss said.

Although they were star athletes they didn't act like it, Preuss said.

"A lot of time you get star basketball players --and it doesn't matter the size of the university -- they're so full of themselves," Preuss said. "But that was never Keith. He was always approachable, humble and kind."

Preuss also fondly remembered how Quan's parents would come to all of the team's games. Her mother would cook a big meal for the team once a year, he said.

"That's rare these days," Preuss said. "It's rare that they embraced the whole team as part of an extended family."

Lawrence graduated from the Ventura County Sheriff's Academy and joined USC's Department of Public Safety in August.

Quan was in her second season at Cal State Fullerton after two seasons as an assistant coach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Quan, a star athlete at Walnut High School, played basketball at Cal State Long Beach from 2003-05 before transferring to Concordia University, where she graduated in 2007 with a degree in exercise and sports science. In 2009, she earned a master's degree.

Quan, 28, and Lawrence, 27, were found shot to death at 9:10 p.m. Feb. 3 in his parked car at 2100 Scholarship. Police suspect it was a revenge- killing. Quan's father, a retired LAPD captain, represented Dorner at a Board of Rights hearing that led to his firing.