Leach: Hilinski had no signs of depression before death

Tyler Hilinski (Credit:

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State coach Mike Leach says there were no outward signs that would have alarmed coaches or teammates before Tyler Hilinski took his own life.

Leach spoke extensively about Hilinski's death for the first time on Saturday. Hilinski died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Leach, who was in Florida at the time of Hilinski's death, said the 21-year-old had shown no signs of depression, or "periods of moping around." Leach said Hilinski — Washington State's presumptive starting quarterback next season — was very steady and would "lift up others who were down."

Leach's comments came after an emotional vigil on Friday night that included Hilinski's parents, current and former teammates and Washington State students. Leach said he last spoke with Hilinski a couple of days after the Holiday Bowl, and the pair talked about offseason plans going into next year.

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Hilinski is from Claremont, California, and went to high school at nearby Upland. He arrived on campus in 2015 and redshirted before appearing in four games in 2016.

Hilinski was the presumptive starting quarterback going into next season. He started Washington State's Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State after Luke Falk was unable to play due to a wrist injury.

Hilinski appeared in eight games during his sophomore season, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns. His most memorable outing came in the second week of the season when he led Washington State from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boise State 47-44 in triple overtime. Hilinski threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns coming off the bench, and was carried off the field after the victory.

His only start came in the bowl game against Michigan State, although he played extensively in a loss to Arizona.

Officials with the university said all WSU students needing immediate assistance can contact the 24-hour  WSU Crisis Line at 509-335-2159.  Staff and faculty can receive assistance at the Employee Assistance Program State toll-free number at 1-877-313-4455.

If you know someone who is having suicidal thoughts should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The line is answered 24-hours a day: 1-800-273-8255.