Teirson Hollis (left) and Ryne Wilhite (right)
died in a car accident early Tuesday morning.
Faulkner University Release
Faulkner University is mourning the death of two of its student-athletes who died in a car accident early Tuesday morning. Teirson Hollis and Ryne Wilhite, both sophomores on the Eagles' football team, died instantly when their car struck an 18-wheeler on Highway 82 in Chilton County.
The accident happened at 5:10 Tuesday morning in Maplesville. The two were returning to Montgomery after visiting a friend in Tuscaloosa.
"I've never been through anything like this – it hurts so much,'' Faulkner head coach Gregg Baker said. "T and Ryne were both great kids, two wonderful Christian young men. The only thing that is helping us right now is the fact that we all know exactly where they are, and that's with our God in Heaven.''
Hollis and Wilhite were both offensive linemen, with Hollis having been with the program since its inaugural season in 2007. Wilhite had just transferred to Faulkner this semester and went through his first spring practice last month. Hollis, a native of Douglasville, Ga., played high school football at Robert S. Alexander High School. A native of New Albany, Miss., Wilhite played for Northeast Mississippi Community College last season.
"Both of them were always smiling and joking around," Baker added. "They may no longer with us here, but T and Ryne will always be a part of this program. Always.''
Flags on the Faulkner campus were flying at half-staff by mid-day Tuesday. The Faulkner football team was informed of the tragedy by Baker and his staff just after the school's academic honors convocation Tuesday morning. Simultaneously, Faulkner president Dr. Billy D. Hilyer informed the rest of the student body, faculty and administration. Grief counselors have been made available to everyone on campus.
"This is a very difficult day for our family,'' said Hilyer, who also addressed the football team Tuesday. "My primary mission on this campus is to be there for our students and to help provide them what they need to earn a quality Christian education. In many ways, they are like my children. And this just breaks all of our hearts. The message that it should send to everyone is just how much we need God, who we know also lost a child. And it's the blood of Jesus that we embrace today.''
Funeral service arrangements have yet to be determined.
Faulkner University is a Christian school affiliated with the Church of Christ. It is located in Montgomery, Alabama. The school was founded in 1942. Enrollment, including post-graduates, is around 3,000.
Faulkner announced it would start a football program on Tuesday, June 13, 2006. The team's first competition was in 2007 as an NAIA independent. This past season, the Eagles were 2-9, 0-5 in the Mid-South (MSC) Conference.