Sam Foltz, 22, may be gone, but his memory will live on at the University of Nebraska. The punter, who lost his life in a tragic car accident on Saturday, July 23, was remembered by the coach and athletic director during an emotional tribute at the University.
In a statement released Sunday afternoon, the day after the shooting, coach Mike Riley described Sam Foltz, 22, as one of the best.
“Last night, we lost one of the best young men who I have ever had the honor to coach and who has ever worn the Nebraska uniform. Sam was universally loved and respected by everyone he touched and on whom he had a positive influence each and every day,” he said in a statement, according to Lincoln Journal. “His tragic loss is immeasurable to his family, his friends, his classmates, his teammates and his coaches, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of them. The young men in our football program are hurting but I know that their strength of character and resolve will bring us together and we will honor Sam every day moving forward.”
On Sunday, the team gathered at Memorial Stadium where they had a group prayer, putting their hands in the middle at the end and chanting in unison , “1, 2, 3, Sam!”
“Lord, you spent your time on Sam,” Graham Nabity, senior fullback, said in prayer during the team vigil.
The coach also tweeted out a message:
— Mike Riley (@Coach_Riley) July 24, 2016
“Our prayers of love and support go out to Sam’s family during this difficult time and we will do all that we can to help comfort them in this time of sadness,” Athletic Director, Shawn Eichorst added. “Sam was truly a tremendous young man, who represented everything that a Nebraska student, athlete, teammate and friend should strive to be. While his loss is devastating, his impact will be felt forever. Along with Coach Riley, our focus is on providing Sam’s family, teammates and friends with the critical support and love that they need at this time.”
Mike Sadler, 22, was also killed in the crash, that took place when the men were on their way home from punter camp. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio also added the following statement. “We are deeply shocked and saddened to hear the extremely tragic news about Mike Sadler’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sadler family, his teammates, friends, coaches and Spartan Nation. We also express our deepest sympathies to the family of Sam Foltz and the Nebraska program for their loss,” he said.
“Mike impacted so many people not only as a football player, but also from an academic standpoint and in the community as well. The world has lost a rising star who dreamed big and was accomplishing those dreams, one after another. He was one of those people that brightened your day. I always say to try and be a light, and he truly was a light in this world. We will all miss him dearly. Once again, we find out that life is so fragile. The world will be a sadder and lonelier place without Mike Sadler in it. May he rest in peace.”
The coach, as well as quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., linebacker Josh Banderas and wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp will sit out of the Big Ten media days Monday and Tuesday in Chicago, the team announced.