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Phillip Lutzenkirchen – A Life of Impact

By on June 30th, 2014 in Football 15 Comments »

Like all Auburn people it was a shock to hear of Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s passing. It’s hard to put into words the emotion that swept over me when I received the news the former Auburn great was gone. I suppose Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee expressed how most of us felt when he tweeted, “Crushed and without words.”

We all know death is no respecter of persons. Yet when I got the news that Lutz had died in an auto accident, it was like someone had kicked me in the stomach.

Only two other times have I had similar emotions when hearing of the passing of an Auburn Family member. The first was in 1980 when Shug Jordan succumbed to a battle with leukemia. The second was in 2003 when I heard over the radio that legendary Auburn announcer Jim Fyffe had suddenly passed away.

But as much as those hurt – this was different. This was not the way it’s suppose to be. This was a young man barely out of college. When a life of promise is lost at such a young age, it’s always harder to fathom.

There will be many tributes written for Phillip this week. I suspect that most will talk of his gridiron glory. Stories will be told and retold about his fantastic almost unbelievable exploits on the football field. However, his legacy goes further than the touchdowns he scored or the records he holds as one of Auburn’s all-time great tight ends.

He felt blessed to be an Auburn man and he had a way about him that impacted not only the fans but his teammates and his friends and family. They all attest to a compassion that was always interested in helping those around him. Phillip led by example on and off the field.

There have been many testimonies from teammates and coaches to that fact but perhaps Auburn AD Jay Jacobs may have given the most poignant statement when he said Lutz, “Had a strong faith, a big heart, and a burning desire to help others. Phillip was a bright light this world desperately needed and his death leaves a void that can’t possibly be filled.”

He only lived 23 years yet oh what a impact he made in that brief time. He once said, “A life is not important except for the impact it has on others.” By that measure, Phillip Lutzenkirchen’s life was really important.

He leaves an example to all that come behind him of faith, of service, of integrity, and of doing things the right way.

The fans have lost one of their all-time favorite Tigers, Auburn has lost a great ambassador, but more importantly his family has lost a son and a brother.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to them today.


  1. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    A good up on a good Auburn man. It was a terrible tragedy. He was such a good ambassador for Auburn and would have been for many years to come. He will be missed. Thanks for the post ATM.

  2. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    I am in shock. I actually had not heard of the news until this morning. My thoughts are with his family and friends and my goodness, the Auburn Family. He truly was a bright light–hopefully his legacy and good works will continue to be a shining example of what it means to be an Auburn Man.

    War Eagle, Lutzie!

  3. wareagle3020 wareagle3020 says:

    One of my favorite. Sad to see him gone.

  4. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Well done ATM, well done.

  5. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    #AuburnMan Still tears with every article I read. His genuine smile will be sorely missed. His legend will live on. #WarEagleForever

  6. wpleagle wpleagle says:

    It’s said that only the good die young, and that is certainly the case here. My wife and I are both 1966 AU graduates, so for us watching Lutzie play football was similar to being proud grandparents. That we were shocked at this tragic event goes without saying – she was moved to tears, and I wasn’t far behind.
    And, let’s not forget his friend Ian, a Georgia Bulldog baseball player. The toll was two young men, and Ian most certainly was fine also since he was Lutzie’s friend.
    Our prayers are with the families of these young men.

  7. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    None of us know when our time is up. However I think it is human to say we hope we have made a difference and impacted others in a positive way when the end does come. I think that is true with this young man.

    I hope the lutzie stays apart of the auburn lexicon for many years to come.

    Heart felt prayers for the family. I grieve for your loss.


  8. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    There are a few physically gifted young men who impress us week to week playing the game they love. Fewer still are those who impress us with their gifted spirit, heart and character. Philip Lutzenkirchen embodied all of these and more – a faithful friend and comrade, a loving son and brother, and an outstandign athlete whose play on the field impressed coaches, opposing players and even opposing fans.

    We feel we all lost a friend. A fitting tribute to any man’s legacy however he spent his time with us.

    Heartfelt condolences to both the Lutzenkirchen and Davis families.

  9. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Wow, I am just devastated.
    Phillip has been a special kid to me ever since we started recruiting him. I don’t know why, but I always had a feeling he was going to be special even before he ever laced up his cleats for Auburn. I rarely if ever feel that way about a recruit, but boy did he ever deliver. He was favorite player and I was sure he was going to have a big career in the NFL. I had so much admiration for him, he was a big time performer when we needed him the most and a big time leader, when Auburn was going through its darkest days. This country and his generation need more young people like Phillip, so to see him pass at such a young age is just tragic beyond words.
    Lutzie, Your fire burned bright and shone so far, that it will be seen far from now and eventually pass into legend. We mourn you Phillip, and our hearts ache for your family. Rest in peace, young man.

  10. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Still doesn’t seem real. I had such a hard time telling my boys the news. He was their all time favorite and one of mine.

  11. Im4Auburn says:

    I can’t ever remember an Auburn player who had a more positive impact on the program than Lutz. It has been over 24 hours since I heard the news and I still can’t believe it. I just can’t imagine Phillip not being with us any more. Praying for his parents and family. RIP Phillip and War Eagle for ever!

  12. sparkey sparkey says:

    I haven’t been able to really say anything about this until now. It’s something that really has shaken me up and I never met the kid. He was the first big time prospect to come to Auburn after Tubs that I really knew about and he was the guy coming here when I first started really obsessing over Auburn again after a couple of years.

    He was a kid of positivity and leadership and simply someone you couldn’t help but pull for even if you weren’t a fan of Auburn. His goofy dance, his enthusiastic attitude, his positivity that was contagious, just the kid in general was really special. He carried himself in a way that I would define as a true Auburn man. This one really hurts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends and God bless them and be with them in this trying hour. Take you Lutz you are gone but never forgotten thank you for all you did and most of it off the field.

    • zotus zotus says:

      Nicely said, Sparkey.

      Philip Lutzenkirchen will never be forgotten by those (both friend and foe) who were fortunate enough to have witnessed, first hand, the young man handle himself on and off the field.

      And, his TD catch that salted away the greatest comeback in the history of the Iron Bowl will be seen, over and over again, by Auburn (and Alabama) folks as long as there are Auburn (and Alabama) folks on this planet. That thought gives a bitter sweet comfort to my heavy heart.

      Philip Lutzenkirchen was, indeed, something special in so many ways to so many people. RIP #43.


  13. […] Monday after what had to be  a very troubling two weeks, starting with the death of former player Phillip Lutzenkirchen and ending with Friday’s disappointing actions of his starting quarterback. Despite those […]