GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Roughly 1,500 people attended a memorial service for Nebraska punter Sam Foltz to remember a talented young man who mourners said had an outgoing yet humble personality and was willing to help others.
The crowd at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Grand Island on Saturday included seven busloads of teammates, coaches and athletic department officials from the University of Nebraska.
The 22-year-old died after a July 23 car crash near Merton, Wisconsin. It also claimed the life of former Michigan State University punter Mike Sadler. The two had been attending a kicking clinic. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was also injured.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley said it's beautiful the way so many people have come out to support the Foltz family and the team, but losing Foltz is heartbreaking.
"Everybody's really tried to stay strong together," Riley said. "But it is sad. And it will be. We're all very thankful for everybody who's put their arms around us. This day is really a good indication of that."
In addition to Foltz's teammates, friends from Greeley and Grand Island, where he grew up, filled the church. Some wore bright orange hunting vests to honor Foltz's passion for the outdoors.
Nebraska kicker Drew Brown had been at the same kicking camp and was riding in a vehicle just a few minutes ahead of the fatal crash. Brown said the memorial offered a chance to celebrate Foltz's life.
"There's so many good things you can say about Sam, whether it was football or life or the wonderful family," Brown said. "It's been really neat being able to reflect on all the wonderful times that we shared."
Another teammate, Spencer Lindsay, said Foltz would have been the best man at his wedding and probably at two other Husker teammates' weddings.
"He had a way of making you feel like you were almost closer to him than you were," Lindsay said at a wake held Friday. "He made everyone feel extremely close to him, which is why he had so many friends."