Anybody who knew Sam Foltz will proudly rave about his outstanding character, captivating leadership, unyielding work ethic, humility, positive, even-keel attitude and, above all, his friendship.
These qualities represent everything positive about representing Nebraska as a student-athlete, and Foltz did so with class, dignity and honor. His legacy will live forever within the hearts and minds of Nebraska players, coaches, administration and fans.
On Friday, the Nebraska athletics department commemorated the life of Sam Foltz by unveiling a memorial plaque that will hang in the west hallway outside the football team’s locker room.
One year ago from Sunday, Foltz and Michigan State punter Mike Sadler were tragically killed in a single-car accident while attending Kohl’s Professional Elite Kicking Camp. The camp handed out two special awards this year to future college kickers, one named for Foltz and the other for Sadler.
Among the final impressions on players as they begin the famous Tunnel Walk will be a picture of a smiling Foltz, posing in his No. 27 uniform. The layout is adjacent to a revamped mural for the Husker Prayer Wall, which will feature newer images and crisper graphics.
The introduction of the memorial plaque came two days before the first anniversary of the automobile accident near Waukesha, Wisconsin, that claimed the life of Foltz and Sadler.
Their legacy will last forever.— Kohl's Kicking Camps (@KohlsKicking) July 22, 2017
The first annual recipients of the Sam Foltz Award (Seth Small) and the Mike Sadler Award (John Tessitore). pic.twitter.com/2pSCvZoBJ7
“We wanted a way to remember Sam permanently in a venue that would be appropriate and meaningful, not just to the current team but also to future teams and everybody involved with the program and the public,” Nebraska executive associate athletic director Steve Waterfield said. “We think this is a great way to do that.”
Foltz, from Greeley, Nebraska, and a graduate of Grand Island High School, was the 2015 Big Ten Punter of the Year and earned his degree in agronomy from Nebraska in May of 2016. A five-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll selection, he made the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship teams.
The plaque, placed below the “No. 27 SF” logo that’s become popular, will include names of recipients of the annual Sam Foltz Memorial Scholarship. The first name on the plaque is senior kicker Drew Brown, one of Foltz’s closest friends, who earned the inaugural scholarship last season.
A biography and list of Foltz’s many honors and achievements highlight the memorial plaque. Also included is a list of qualifications to be a candidate for the Sam Foltz Memorial Scholarship. The award goes to a football player who must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 and have been a previous member of the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.
The recipient must also reflect leadership qualities that Foltz demonstrated. Student-athletes who graduated from Nebraska high schools will strongly be considered, as will those who were recipients of the Sam Foltz Hero 27 Leadership Award.
Fans can view the new permanent memorial as part of normal scheduled tours of Memorial Stadium. This plaque will replace the temporary Foltz memorial, outside the northwest corner of the stadium.
The outdoor mural, a collage of Foltz pictures, will remain standing through July 28, so fans can visit and leave mementos on Sunday’s anniversary, if they so wish. Benches, flowers and landscaping will replace the temporary outdoor memorial. Waterfield said the athletics department has offered the mural to the Foltz family.