WSU students, staff hold vigil at Martin Stadium to honor Tyler Hilinski
PULLMAN, Wash. -- The death of Washington State University quarterback Tyler Hilinski has devastated not only Cougars but people everywhere.
Pullman police believe the 21-year-old ended his own life Tuesday inside an apartment in Pullman.
Dozens of people have left flowers, balloons, and messages of support around the iconic Cougar statue in front of Martin Stadium.
This iconic place where memories are made, boys become men, and cheering Coug fans create a sea of crimson and gray every fall.
It's a place where students and staff came together Wednesday to grieve.
"Cougs help Cougs," said student Chloe Stogner. "And just hearing about it… it brings everyone together."
Stogner didn’t know Hilinski.
But she came to an emotional vigil Wednesday to honor him and show his family just how much he meant to us all.
"He was such a good representation of WSU that I think that’s why it’s impacted us. Because he was such a good human," said friend Amy Thomas.
To say this campus is heartbroken would be an understatement.
"I was talking to him four days ago," said Thomas. "Just normal conversation telling me what he was doing ‘cause I hadn’t seen him in a while."
Hilinski was a talented, out-going student athlete with an incredible arm, friends said.
He had an arm meant for the kind of stunning overtime comebacks like the one against Boise State last September.
"He commanded respect from that team when he walked on the field," said Dylan Haugh, who covered Hilinski for CougFan.com.
"Knowing that he was such a great guy and like really loved... It’s really surprising," Stogner said.
We may never know what drove Hilinski into that deep, dark place thinking that ending his life was the answer.
It reminds us all to show those we care about that we love them and support them.
And that there are always people who can help.
"Just wishing that somebody could have talked to him one last time," Haugh said. "Maybe one last phone call to him and for everyone to say ‘Hey, we’re still with you.’"
In a statement released Wednesday, WSU President Kirk Schulz encouraged the WSU community to take time and seek help in the coming days to process what happened. Counseling services are available to students in Pullman and at all WSU campuses throughout the state.