Kicking and punting camp serves as reminder to the legacy former Husker punter left behind

Published Friday, July 7th, 2023 on NTV ABC. Trey Redfield.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — When it comes to kicking and punting in Nebraska, especially away from Lincoln and Omaha, it is normal to see a position player handle those duties.

But don’t expect that for long. The Sam Foltz Foundation held its first annual high school kicking and punting camp in Grand Island, Neb. on Friday afternoon, led by Jamie Kohl.

Kohl kicked at Iowa State and run’s Kohl’s Professional Camps, one of the most popular football camps in the country.

“I remember this area for the people I encountered,” Kohl said. “The way they treated me, the way they treated me after [Sam Foltz’s] funeral, and just great people.”

Kohl is one of those great people to help try and build a kicking and punting hotspot in central Nebraska.

Betsy Foltz, Sam’s little sister and key contributor to the Sam Foltz Foundation, details why having a camp in central Nebraska is essential.

“There’s not a lot of camps that are readily available in our area,” Foltz said. “Most of them have to travel to Omaha for or travel out of state for. We’re really fortunate to be able to host something like this in Grand Island.”

Grand Island was where Sam Foltz shined. He played football and ran track – where he still holds the 400 meter dash record. Plus, Foltz played basketball in the winter and baseball, before making more of a commitment to football.

In football, Foltz got into kicking and punting, accidentally signing up for a scholarship camp in Wisconsin. In the end, it all worked out.

“So Jamie was gracious enough to let Sam stay,” Betsy said. “And Sam ended up being in the top five at that camp.”

Keep in mind, that camp was loaded with scholarship athletes, off to play Division I football. Foltz earned the right to play at that level, punting for Nebraska.

But in 2016, tragedy struck the Foltz family, when Sam was killed in a car accident on July 23. He left an inspiration to those who not only knew him, but also to those who will follow in his footsteps.

“It’s hard to explain, but I just took it as a norm because I was around him all the time,” Gerald Foltz, Sam’s father, said. “It wasn’t until after he passed where you went, ‘He’s pretty special.’”

Seven years after he passed, Foltz has left an unbelievable legacy that continues to touch folks across the entire state.

Whether it’s in Greeley, where he grew up, or where he went to school in Grand Island, his motto, “Dream big. Work hard. Stay humble,” carries across the entire state.

“[Sam] also gives us that example of wanting to give back,” Jeff Tomlin, current Grand Island Senior High School head coach and Sam’s high school coach, said. “Wanting to serve, wanting to impact others, and wanting to be that light in somebody’s life and making their day better.”

Now, in 2023, his family is helping kickers and punters become better specialists. The Foltz family plans on making this camp an annual tradition in Grand Island, where Foltz first shined on the gridiron.