Former coach remembers Kent State football player who died as great person, hard-working athlete

KENT, Ohio -- Coaches and friends of Tyler Heintz, a freshman football player for Kent State University, were awaiting word from the Portage County coroner to learn more about what caused the death of the young offensive lineman on Tuesday.

The university released a statement on Tuesday saying, in part, "Tyler was transported by paramedics to a local hospital this morning following football conditioning drills at Dix stadium. The cause of death is not yet known."

Paul Haynes, the head football coach at Kent State had this to say about Tyler Wednesday morning:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss. Tyler was an unselfish young man who exemplifies everything we look for in a Golden Flash. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Speaking on behalf of Heintz's family, Kenton Head Football Coach Brent Fackler described Heintz as a great person, a great athlete, an academic success and a young man with a great work ethic.

"When we would have morning workouts at 6 a.m., it's a lot of times between who is going to get here first -- me or Tyler-- in the mornings. All throughout his high school career I'd get here at 5:30 and some days he'd be there and some days I would beat him, but a lot of times he's the first guy there," said Fackler.

Fackler made time to talk with his high school players about Heintz's death as they gathered for a weightlifting workout Wednesday morning.

"It's always been Tyler's work ethic to -- like many of our kids-- with stress they kind of worked it out and it was good for the kids to get in and work it out today," said Fackler.

Fackler tells Fox 8 News, Heintz had undergone at least one, perhaps several physicals so that he could play at Kent State.

"I can tell you this: Tyler was working as hard as possible and he wanted to impress his coaches just like he did when he was here and he was a guy who thought that all good things come from hard work and I'm sure he was working his tail off to do that," he said.
With respect to the weather on Tuesday, Fackler says the conditions are on the minds of every high school and college coach across the state.

"I think you could talk to every high school football coach and college coach and they would tell you the same thing. We always have water there; we are always giving our kids breaks, you know; it seems like when something like this happens -- we don't know exactly what happened," said Fackler.​

Some of Tyler's fellow student-athletes have started a GoFundMe page to help his family with expenses. You can click here to see the fund.

Read more, here.