JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – The University of Pittsburgh Johnstown community is mourning the loss of freshman football player Samuel Benshoff, who died Monday following a car accident.
“He was such a good person,” Pitt-Johnstown men’s soccer coach Eric Kinsey said. “Not having the opportunity to get to know him more, I think for me is the biggest loss.”
The crew chief described Benshoff as the last guy to come out of the locker room and the last person to help put the equipment away, which allowed the coach to know him more than the other freshmen.
Kinsey said the Waynesboro resident has his priorities straight and is more mature than other students his age.
Benshoff succumbed to injuries sustained in a car crash near his home.
He was the son of Shannon and Michelle Benshoff.
The freshman was studying civil engineering in college and played as a defender on the school football team, appearing in 15 games and starting 12 times – ending his first season with a goal and a decisive pass.
Kinsey said he had spoken to Benshoff’s mother since Monday and she told him that her son felt at home on the Pitt-Johnstown campus and was glad he chose to attend this school.
Benshoff’s teammates remember him as a driven player who “fought hard every game” and stepped up for the team when a player got injured.
“Samuel was one of the hardest working people I know, whether on the field or in the classroom,” junior football forward Andrew Jeffrey said in a statement. “He always sought excellence, never looking for excuses or trying to take shortcuts.”
Another teammate, redshirt freshman forward Adedapo Oni, described Benshoff as a “great football player and an even better person.”
“He created a lot of wonderful memories with the team and he will be remembered forever,” he said. “My condolences and prayers go out to his family. I also want to let his family know that Samuel was a great young man and he left a very positive mark in our lives and he made us better people, as well as a better team. Thank you Thank you for everything you have done for the team. Rest in peace.”
Pitt-Johnstown athletic director Pat Pecora said staff and faculty are heartbroken by the news.
“Samuel was a true student-athlete, majoring in engineering, one of the most demanding majors, while competing in college football,” he said. “Samuel was a dedicated teammate and friend to many. We are committed to providing support and resources to Samuel’s teammates, as well as the Pitt-Johnstown community that knew him.”
Jem Spectar, president of Pitt-Johnstown, said Benshoff was “a talented and exceptionally driven student-athlete” who was “renowned for his hard work ethic, tremendous energy, generosity of spirit and unrelenting pursuit of ‘Excellency”.
“Much admired and loved by all who knew him here in Pitt-Johnstown,” he said. “Samuel has definitely had a big and lasting impact on his classmates, teammates and so many other members of our community. On behalf of the Pitt-Johnstown community, I send my condolences and sympathy to the family, to Samuel’s friends and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Students and other members of the campus community who need bereavement counseling can contact the Counseling Services team at 814-269-7119 or by emailing [email protected].
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.