The last 24 hours have featured a ton of reaction to the passing of former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, with most people who knew him praising him for being a great man. Last night, Lutzenkirchen’s roommate and best friend Brian Penter penned a eulogy on his blog, saying that, “No one I knew impacted more lives than Philip.”
Penter and Lutzenkirchen had known each other from the time they were in grade school, and according to Penter, the two have been best friends since then, saying that they grew up and spent their childhoods together. Penter also recalls meeting Urban Meyer while Lutzenkirchen was on a recruiting trip to Florida, where Penter was a freshman.
My freshman year at Florida, Philip came down for a visit and I got to accompany him and meet Coach Urban Meyer (VERY serious guy. He told Philip, “You’ve got a nice frame. I think we could use you.”) We enjoyed the game, but I knew Philip loved Auburn, and that despite the turmoil the program was going through after firing Tommy Tubberville, that that’s where he’d end up.
The two ended up living together after Lutzenkirchen got a job in Montgomery, Alabama, where Penter was a sports reporter for a local news affiliate, right after Lutzenkirchen’s attempt at an NFL career was cut short due to ankle and hip injuries. Right before they moved in together, Penter interviewed Lutzenkirchen leading up to the 2013 Iron Bowl, and Lutzenkirchen correctly predicted that Auburn would defeat Alabama.
Penter ended his blog post saying the thing that made Lutzenkirchen so special wasn’t his ability on the football field, but rather how many lives he touched outside of the game. While he said he was sad, Penter did say, “I can take solace in knowing that he was a man of great faith, and I know Jesus’ team just got one heck of a tight end- one with a fully-functioning hip. If he can do this on Earth, I can’t imagine what he’s capable of in heaven.”
After the post went up on his blog, Penter took to Twitter after he realized one last thing about Lutzenkirchen’s life.
Thinking of that interview, I’m smiling at the fact that the last Iron Bowl Philip was here for was the most incredible Iron Bowl ever. Wow.
— Brian Penter (@BrianPenter) June 30, 2014
Lutzenkirchen passed away after a car accident on Sunday morning. He was 23.