Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were killed in a crash in Wisconsin after attending a punter's camp over the weekend. The tragedy has struck the two schools in a big way, including a change in the plans for Big Ten Media Days. Mike Riley and the players set to represent the Cornhuskers in Chicago will not be attending, per a school spokesperson.
Support has been sent to friends, families and fans of the victims from every direction. At 1010 News in Lincoln, sports director Kevin Sjuts delivered a touching and emotional tribute to Foltz discussing his impact in the community and ever-giving spirit.
The text of Sjuts' tribute has been transcribed below so you can read along or check it out after the video, but please, do check out the video.
To me, Sam Foltz was never an athlete, he was an amazing human being with incredible athletic skill. Our interviews were never interviews, they were conversations. He was real, friendly, engaging and kind. I remember talking to Sam Foltz about his youth. He shared stories of kicking a football as far as he could on the family farm.
I remember covering him in high school. He made trips from Lincoln to Grand Island for me worth every second, and in college he never lost his spirit. Sam would chat while walking out to practice. He'd remind you of the Royals record and even one time he served as a one-person viewing audience for one of my sportscasts. He jokingly heckled me, yet offered encouragement.
This past spring, my son's first grade class had "Superhero Week." He invited two Husker players to come to the school -- one was Sam Foltz. Sam sat in front of the classroom, playfully teased a Packers fan and took enough pictures to fill up an entire memory card. Never mind this was mid-week between weight lifting and class. Sam greeted members of the staff at school, signed a few autographs and stood around in the parking lot for 20 minutes outlining his plans for the future. No one knew that future would end three months later.
This afternoon behind mic ears, I had to share with my son that Sam Foltz had died. I can't think of a better role model for a seven year old, or anyone else for that matter. Sam was a man of integrity, he was giving of his time, his smile was infectious and his love for others was far-reaching.
I am privileged to know Sam Foltz. He was great on the field, and even better off of it. So much better. I can only hope my own son can stand for all the things Sam Foltz did.
The 22-year-old Foltz was the Big Ten punter of the year in 2015 as a junior and was on the Ray Guy Award watch list coming into his senior season. Foltz averaged 44.23 yards per punt in 2015.
"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," said Riley in a statement. "Sam was universally loved and respected by everyone he touched and on whom he had a positive influence each and every day. 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."