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Teammates remember Zach Hemmila

Posted: 6:25 PM, Aug 10, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-11 16:12:51Z

Two days following his passing, the Arizona Football program continues to mourn the loss of senior lineman Zach Hemmila.

"You talk to someone one moment, the next morning, they're gone.  It's crazy," senior linebacker Cody Ippolito says.
 
"You know I told the team, this is not in the coaching manual.  This is not something that we've experienced," explains head coach Rich Rodriguez.
 
The staff has held meetings with the team each day to offer the opportunity to talk and grieve with counselors.
 
Ippolito and Hemmila were roommates in the dorm freshman year at Arizona.
 
"We had Call of Duty, FIFA, playing zombies, staying up late and getting High-Line burritos," Ippolito remembers.
 
Close field and senior tight end Josh Kern remembers the final conversation she shared with Zach.
 
"Two days before he passed, he told me that was the best he'd ever felt, and that was the last time I talked to him."
 
Hemmila had made tremendous progress over the past two and a half years both personally and athletically, according to coaches and teammates. 
 
"It's just been remarkable, how he's grown as a person, as a player. When he sat down in my office for 45 minutes just to talk about things with a big smile on his face, as a coach, was a really neat moment," Coach Rodriguez says.
 
The big smile of Zach's was his trademark, according to his teammates. 
 
"I've never seen him be mean to anyone.  He never insulted anyone, he was always just trying to pick people up," Ippolito remembers.
 
Kern adds, "it sounds cliché to say, but he really was a big teddy bear.  He was always happy and fun to be around."
 
A public viewing is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 11 from 4-7 p.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church (1800 N. Camino Pio Decimo, Tucson).
 
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that you consider making a donation in Zach's honor to 'Kids of Steele' by visiting this website  and selecting 'Kids of Steele' in the 'Designation' drop-down menu.
 
You can also mail donations to:
Kids of Steele
P.O. Box 245073
Tucson, AZ 85724-5073