NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) – Gun violence claimed the life of a young man who had aspirations of playing football. Now, more than a year-and-a-half later his coach reflects on the loss in an interview with News 2.
On June 25th, 2019, News 2 reported the homicide of William Summers Jr. The 21-year-old’s death has been investigated by Metro’s North Precinct.
The tragic loss resonating a little deeper with News 2 and viewers because that wasn’t the first time Summers appeared in a story.
In 2015, he was a “Titans on 2 Prep Player of the Week” for his outstanding performance on the football field at Stratford High.
Summers transferred from Maplewood to Stratford following his junior season. His head coach at the time was Maurice Fitzgerald who is now the head coach at Hillsboro.
“Just really extraordinary talent,” Fitzgerald remembered his former player. “A lot of times you don’t get to coach young men like that, with that kind of speed, balance, agility. Just had a knack for making plays.”
Summers’ hard work on the football field paid off when he earned the opportunity to play at the next level.
“Certainly he could do it as a student and as an athlete. Certainly he could perform well enough to play at the collegiate level,” said Fitzgerald.
He was part of the 2016 class at Tennessee State University, but never suited up for the Tigers. He did play at a junior college in California right out of high school.
Summers was more than a statistic. More than a homicide rate. And, more than the stats he put up as a football player.
Fitzgerald recalled, “He had an infectious personality. He was able to get all the the students to gravitate to him. He was a good student, probably a 3.0 (grade point average) or better.”
Ultimately, Summers’ life was cut short.
“You certainly want the best for them, and when you hear situations like this, you just wonder what could have been? What could he have provided to society? He had a lot to offer,” said Fitzgerald.
Two teenagers were arrested and charged in connection to Summers’ death less than a month after the shooting occurred.
News 2 has reached out to investigators for an update in the case. We will let you know what new information we learn.