Kent State fires coach who ran drills on day of player’s death

Tyler Heintz

KENT, Ohio– Kent State University fired the strength coach who oversaw drills on the day a football played died.

Incoming freshman Tyler Heintz was taken to the hospital on June 13 following football conditioning drills at Dix Stadium. The Portage County Coroner’s Office said his preliminary cause of death was hyperthermia.

Head football strength coach Ross Bowsher was running the drills that day. Kent State was unable to provide certification for the coach, which is required by NCAA bylaws.

On Monday, Kent State said it fired Bowsher, who provided false information on his resume, following its investigation into the player’s passing. The university also self-reported the violation to the NCAA, a KSU spokesman said.

“The university has concluded its internal review of the matter, and our findings indicate that the workout was conducted in accordance with national protocols for student-athlete health and safety, and the session was supervised appropriately by qualified personnel. Present at the June 13 football workout were five certified personnel who participated in the design, implementation and supervision of the 20 student-athletes,” the university said.

Bowsher is not a member of the National Strength Coaches Association or the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, two well-known professional organizations for trainers and coaches.

Heintz graduated from Kenton High School, where he played offensive line. Kenton football coach Brent Fackler said Heintz was a great young man with an incredible work ethic.

The 19-year-old was planning to study marketing and entrepreneurship at Kent State this fall.

In 2014, KSU center Jason Bitsko was found unresponsive in his apartment after he didn’t show up to practice. The 21-year-old’s cause of death was an enlarged heart.

More stories on Tyler Heintz here