University of Pikeville holds memorial for Tyler Williams

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Update 12/14/14:

The University of Pikeville held a memorial Monday night for 21-year-old student athlete Mark "Tyler" Williams.

Williams died Sunday after he was injured Friday in an ATV accident.

Monday's service featured songs of worship, words of prayer, and even some laughter.

"He was just a great leader, a great student, a great athlete, an awesome Christian, a guy that led by example," said university president Dr. James Hurley, who was also Williams' middle school principal.

Williams played baseball and football at Belfry before coming to pitch for the Bears.

Teammates say he would often cut up in the bullpen.

"Coach Gassman would call out and he'd be like 'Who do you think's going in?' and Tyler would go 'Not you, Sokoll.' It was just funny stuff like that. Things you've got to remember," said friend and former teammate Jake Sokoll.

Most of UPike's students have already gone home for the semester, but still more than 150 people showed up Monday night to pay their respects.

Rob Musick, the university's chaplain, shared how Tyler's first instinct following the accident was to pray out loud.

"That was very critical, so we find out that that was something so fundamental to Tyler, that his faith was the bedrock of his life," he said.

"That speaks volumes about his character and that's what ... I think it was, you know better for us to know that, you know he kept his faith even on his final stand on earth," said Sokoll.

Those who knew him say Williams will be remembered as a young man who was always faithful, always dedicated, and always a UPike Bear.

A visitation for Williams will be held Tuesday from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Belfry High School auditorium.

The funeral will take place the following day at 1 p.m., also at the school.


Original Story 12/13/14:

The Pond Creek Nation and the University of Pikeville are mourning the loss of athlete Tyler Williams.

Williams was injured in an ATV accident Friday afternoon, he died later that weekend.

Tyler Williams played Football and Baseball for Belfry and was a Pitcher for the University of Pikeville.

Jeremy Howard, Tylers Middle School Principal says Williams is the kind of guy he hopes his son turns out to be.

"I always just remember that personality, that loves people that will always give you their best effort at anytime" says Tyler's college baseball coach Chad Gassman.

Coaches and teammates say Tyler was a big part of team. Coach says just a few weeks ago they were saying, if you can't get along with tyler who can you get along with.

"There were no cliques with Tyler, Tyler was accepting, he accepted everyone on the team and he was really a great leader in that standpoint" says Gassman

Gassman brought the team together over the weekend to talk about Tylers condition.

"Good teams become a family and I feel like that's what we've become and that's just what it was a family talking about their brother" says Gassman.

Remembering the good during this painful time.

"On his first recruiting trip he had a football game that night for Belfry and he came down, he had a broken nose and black eyes from a football accident but he was tough, he was going to come down to that recruiting trip no matter what and I looked at my assistant coach and said I love this kid" says Gassman.

Coaches of Tyler's say he was competitive, team oriented and always gave 100%.

"He's a fighter, he competed when he was on the mound, but he always competed the right way and even with the accident he was fighting the whole way and we're going to miss him" says Gassman.

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