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.

27 UNL Student-Athletes Presented the Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award

The Sam Foltz 27 HERO Leadership Award, awards student-athlete leaders from each varsity sport. The criteria for the HERO Award include exceptional leadership, consistent and dedicated community service, and positive influence on the team. Nominees are identified by the Life Skills staff with approval from the Academic staff and Head Coaches. HERO recipients are announced at the annual A Night at the Lied student-athlete recognition event held at the Lied Center for Performing Arts every April.

2022 Sam Foltz 27 HERO Leadership Award Recipients

Brian Beach, Cross Country
Elliot Brown, Football
Damion Daniels, Football
Kinsey Davis, Gymnastics
Olivia Ferrell, Softball
Jessica Gardner, Track & Field
Kendyl Hofmeister, Bowling
Maddie Holland, Track & Field
Kenzie Knuckles, VolleyballGwen Maeha, Bowling
Omar Manning, Football
Matt Masker, Football
Daniel Mattern, Track & Field
Brice Matthews, Baseball
Daniel Monahan, Wrestling
Passmore Mudundulu, Track & Field
Tristan Nelko, Golf
Kristina Novak, TennisCecelia Ossi, Rifle
Anni Raley, Softball
Madesyn Ronquillio, Swimming & Diving
Jaz Shelley, Basketball
Taya Skelton, Cross Country, Track & Field
Lindsey Thiele, Golf
Abby Volkmer, Cross Country
Nic Wiedenhorn, Tennis
Ashley Zugay, Soccer

Stretch of highway near Greeley is named after former Husker punter Sam Foltz

Originally Posted February 10, 2022 in the Nebraska Examiner. Written by Paul Hammel.

A small Nebraska town has won approval to memorialize a local football hero.

A portion of Nebraska Highway 56 near Greeley has now been officially designated as the “Sam Foltz Memorial Highway.”

Foltz, whose family is from the Greeley area, was a star punter for the Huskers until being tragically killed in a vehicle accident in Wisconsin in July 2016.

Foltz attended Grand Island High School and joined the University of Nebraska football team as a walk-on, meaning he wasn’t given a scholarship. But he eventually earned a scholarship and blossomed into the Big 10 punter of the year in 2015. Foltz was seen as a prime prospect for the NFL.

Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a resolution last week naming a 12.9-mile segment of Highway 56 after Foltz. Five generations of the Foltz family have farmed along that stretch of highway, including Sam Foltz’s parents, Gerald and Jill Foltz.

The Greeley Citizen reported that the naming project was launched by a local committee of citizens led by Mary Ann McQuillan of Greeley. A fund-raising campaign has been launched through the First National Bank in Greeley to defray costs of signage along the highway.

The State Highway Commission, which governs the naming of highways, approved the request in December.