WSU football player found dead in apartment


RYAN PUGH | The Daily Evergreen

Then-redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski runs the ball down the field to get a first down against Michigan State during the Holiday Bowl.

DYLAN GREENE, Evergreen sports editor

Pullman Police responded to a call at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to check on the well-being of redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski and found him dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to a Pullman Police news release.

Hilinski, 21, did not show up for practice Tuesday, according to the release.

A rifle was found next to Hilinski along with a suicide note.

Pullman police and the Whitman County Coroner’s Office are investigating the cause and manner of death.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing,” WSU football Head Coach Mike Leach said in a WSU Athletics release. “He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The Claremont, California native passed for 1,176 yards, seven touchdowns and seven interceptions for the Cougars last season. Hilinski stepped in for redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk in the second game of the season against Boise State University and led the Cougars to a triple overtime comeback victory over the Broncos.

“The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all,” Interim Director of Athletics John Johnson said in the WSU Athletics release. “Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

Hilinski made his first career start in place of an injured Falk at the Holiday Bowl. He passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-17 loss to Michigan State University.

The football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy Tuesday night, the WSU release stated. Campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor were on hand at the meeting to provide counseling if needed, according to the WSU release.

WSU will continue to provide counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed, according to the release.

If you are in need of emotional support, call the 24-hour a day National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, which is a confidential service to those in distress.

WSU Counseling and Psychological Services can also be contacted online, and after hours at 509-335-2159.

This story is being updated as information becomes available.