Arizona lineman Zach Hemmila dies in sleep at age 22

ByKevin Gemmell ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Arizona Wildcatsfootball coach Rich Rodriguez made the tearful announcement Monday morning that offensive lineman Zach Hemmila died sometime Sunday night or early Monday. The cause of death is still not known.

Rodriguez was joined by Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, who said Hemmila, 22, "passed away in his sleep last night. We were notified this morning."

Byrne said Rodriguez notified the team Monday morning.

"We lost a great, young man," Rodriguez said. "Everybody in our program is hurting ... I don't know any of the details."

Rodriguez said he saw Hemmila Sunday night and they spoke after a meeting.

Byrne said grief counselors will be available for the team.

Hemmila, a Chandler, Arizona, native, played in all 13 games last season with six starts. He was competing for the starting center job. The Wildcats open the season Sept. 3 against BYU in Glendale, Arizona.