Hunter S. Thompson, a writer and gonzo journalist, once said, “Football fans all over the world and with all kinds of personalities speak the same language. Anyone who really likes football is never alone. We are many, and often the only thing we have in common is football.” Even though it’s hard to picture Hunter S. Thompson as a football fan, it’s easy to see why the sport is so interesting.
Its players are the most dedicated athletes in sports. So they can spend those precious hours on the field, they often break their bodies and minds. They push themselves so hard that they are almost at their spiritual limit. The sports world recently lost a player who never made it to the NFL but still loved the game in other ways. Phil Petty, who used to play quarterback for the University of South Carolina, died at the age of 43. Here’s what we know about what killed him and how he lived.
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What Do We Know About How Phil Petty Died?
USA Today says that Phil Petty died on Thursday, July 21, after a “brief stay in the hospital.” He was 43 years old. At the time this was written, the public did not know what caused the death. This bad news comes right after he was hired as an assistant coach at Gray Collegiate Academy in Columbia, South Carolina.
Before taking the job in April 2022, Phil worked as an assistant at the Hammond school, which is also in Columbia. Before that, he was at East Carolina University, where his coach was former USC assistant coach Skip Holtz. In an interview with The Spurs Up Show in August 2021, Phil talked about playing at the University of South Carolina for Lou Holtz, who is Skip’s father.
When asked about his favorite Lou Holtz memory, Phil said it was when Lou looked at the players after a particularly hard practice and said, “The University of South Carolina is where you go for one of two reasons. Either (A) you’re a loser, or (B) you like to hang out with other losers.” It looks like Phil’s impression of Lou Holtz, who used to be a coach, was one of the best.
On and Off the Field, Phil Petty Left His Mark.
Phil played for the Gamecocks from 1998 to 2001. For three of those years, he was the starting quarterback. In his last two years as head coach, the team won the Outback Bowl twice in a row over Ohio State, according to USA Today. In his last year at the University of South Carolina, Phil was named MVP at the Outback Bowl after throwing for 227 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gamecocks beat the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In a statement released by USC athletics director Ray Tanner, Phil is called a “great friend to many and a great dad and husband.” It’s clear that he cared about his family as much as, if not more than, he did about his teammates and players. Phil’s wife, Morgan, and their two children, Sage and McCoy, will carry on after him. There are many different ways to leave a legacy, and it’s clear that Phil’s memory will live on in football and in his family. There are a lot of people who like football, but Phil was one of a kind.