When the news of former Iowa safety Tyler Sash’s death surfaced, Hawkeye¬†coach Kirk Ferentz postponed his usual Tuesday press conference.

On Wednesday, Ferentz collected himself and opened up his press conference with some words about the Iowa star.

Here’s the entire opening statement from Ferentz:

KIRK FERENTZ:

“First of all, I appreciate, all of us appreciate your understanding about yesterday’s postponement. Like all of us, I think our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the Sash family. A very difficult ordeal to deal with right now. I want to thank our fans, everybody involved, former players, everybody that’s showing support to Tyler’s family and the Hawkeye family, and that includes many people from Iowa State, as well, fans and athletes, coaches from there who have reached out through social media, and fully appreciate and understand that they’ve gone through some very difficult times, as well. Their support is very much appreciated and very, very special.

I want to thank you for your respect, also, just in dealing with this story. It’s a tough story, certainly, and I know a lot of great things have been covered and written about Tyler and his career and just memories about him. He certainly was a special young man in our program, had a great career here, was extremely competitive, just a high-energy player and did a lot of great things, and you can talk about a lot of things that Tyler did here. Certainly the Indiana play in 2009 was a signature moment for him, and I’m still not sure how that all took place.

But it’s kind of interesting, as I think about him, my first exposure to Tyler was actually at a little league basketball game, I think it was in Signary (phon), and I can’t tell you what grade he was in, but it was a youth league basketball game. His team — our son James was on the team opposite of him. On that team was Matt Gatens and John Gilmore, two pretty good athletes, and Tyler’s team beat them 40-36 that day, and I remember coming home and telling our staff, I saw a kid that scored 36 of 40 points that day single-handedly beat James’s team. That was my first exposure to him.

I remember calling him, he was on his way back from the state track meet his junior year, and that’s when we offered him a scholarship, and we certainly had a great time with him after that. We’re very appreciative of the opportunity we’ve had to have him in the program, and to lose one of our own, it’s a tough thing as you may well imagine.”