PULLMAN – Tyler Hilinski would’ve been playing his final game at Martin Stadium and possibly making his final home start for Washington State against Oregon State on Nov. 23.
When the Cougars celebrate their senior class in a pregame ceremony ahead of the season finale against the Beavers, Hilinski will get his moment too.
Hilinski’s Hope, the non-profit foundation launched by the quarterback’s family in the wake of his suicide death last year, announced Monday on Instagram and Facebook WSU will be celebrating Hilinski with the rest of his former teammates on Nov. 23.
The post also suggests Hilinski’s parents, Mark and Kym, will be in attendance and potentially other members of the player’s family. It’s unclear how WSU will go about honoring Hilinski, but generally the team’s seniors are ushered onto the turf with family members and/or friends before posing for photos at midfield.
“Thank you Washington State University for remembering Tyler, he sure loved his Cougs and although November 23rd will be an emotional day for us we wouldn’t miss the chance to be with you all in Pullman as Tyler is recognized, along with his fellow seniors, in the community he loved!” the post read.
Hilinski was slated to replace Luke Falk as WSU’s starting quarterback, and could’ve been a two-year starter for the Cougars, before he took his own life in an off-campus incident less than a month after playing against Michigan State in the Holiday Bowl.
While WSU players, coaches, students and fans have found various ways to pay tribute to the QB, the school itself has made a concerted effort not to glorify Hilinski – a strategy recommended by the JED Foundation, a non-profit group that “exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide.”
Cougars coach Mike Leach suggested Monday the team had always planned to celebrate Hilinski on Senior Day, telling reporters “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.”
A school spokesperson said the school began coordinating with the family last year to honor Hilinski on Senior Day.
Mark and Kym Hilinski moved from the Los Angeles area to South Carolina in order to be closer to their youngest son, Ryan, who’s the starting quarterback at the University of South Carolina.