Before what would have been Tyler Hilinski’s final home game as quarterback, the Washington State Cougars will honor their deceased teammate as part of senior day activities prior to kickoff against the Oregon State Beavers on November 23.
Hilinski’s Hope made the announcement via Facebook post.
To say this is an excellent move is an understatement ... and it also was far from a slam dunk. Amidst all the talk of suicide prevention and mental health that came out of Hilinski’s death — which are good things, to be sure — the school had taken an official stance of not talking about Tyler by name in conjunction with any of these efforts, despite his presence being everywhere:
As a result, the Hilinskis and the school had distanced themselves from each other in the last year or so. Hopefully this can mend some of those hurt feelings.
For his part, Mike Leach said not doing it was never a consideration:
Leach talks about celebrating Tyler Hilinski on Senior Night, indicating it’s something #WSU never thought twice about.— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) November 12, 2019
“We’ve always from the beginning planned to have Tyler a part of everything this class celebrated and did together just because that was his class.” pic.twitter.com/4xiufttrDM
Plans for how it will happen are not clear, but it seems likely that Tyler’s name will be called out during the procession and his parents, Kym and Mark, will walk out on the field to be recognized. Here’s to hoping fans can make their way in from the tailgate early enough to give the Hilinskis the giant hug they deserve in the form of a rousing ovation.
And if I might make one more suggestion: At South Carolina, where Tyler’s brother Ryan Hilinski is the quarterback, their fans have adopted a new tradition to honor Tyler and raise awareness for mental health issues.
We should do this, too. Let’s build some momentum for it in the next two weeks.