HBU football player found dead, school announces

Garrett Dolan was found dead Sunday

By Sophia Beausoleil - Reporter, Cory McCord - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - Houston Baptist University is mourning a star football player who police say died after he possibly fell off a roof of Midtown apartment.

Garrett Dolan was found dead Sunday around 2:30 p.m. on a fourth-floor courtyard at 2727 Travis St. by the apartment management, according to Houston police.

Camden McGowen Station Apartments is under construction. Police said the area where his body was found is off limits to residents. It is not clear how long Dolan's body was there.

There are only seven tenants at the residence, building management said. The building manager did not know Dolan, police said.

Police said clothing and alcohol were found on the roof of the residence. Police also said Dolan took off his shirt. 

There are still many unanswered questions as to what exactly happened.

Investigators said family members told police they last saw Dolan Friday at a gathering. Friends said they last saw him Sunday at a Midtown club.

Dolan's cause of death is pending the outcome of an autopsy.

The university posted a photo of Dolan and called him an outstanding student and athlete. He was a senior linebacker for the HBU football team. He was also a two-time All-American, according to the university.

"All of us at HBU mourn the death of Garrett Dolan. He was an outstanding student and athlete. We ask for prayers for the students, staff and faculty who knew him best and especially for his family," said HBU President Robert Sloan.

The university's athletic director released this statement on Facebook:

"The entire HBU community is grieving. We know the Bible tells us that, for each of us, there is a time. We are saddened that his time came so young. We pray for Garrett Dolan, his family and friends; and for his teammates and classmates; as we all work to understand this loss."

Former teammates

Many of Dolan’s former teammates were shocked to learn of the star athlete’s death.

Dolan, who had a career 467 tackles and was named male athlete of the year at HBU, was known as a beast on the field.

“We were all talented, but Garrett was extremely talented and extremely gifted, and he was the hardest worker on the team and he was huge and he was so strong,” said Jackie Robinson, who played ball with Dolan at HBU.

Chris Hardeman, who is training in Austin and headed to the Buffalo Bills minicamp on Thursday, said he last talked to Dolan four days ago.

"I couldn’t believe it. It’s just so surreal to know somebody like him is gone. I couldn’t sleep last night. I had to train this morning, and I tried to call my teammates back at HBU to figure out any more information. I know they had a team meeting this morning,” explained Hardeman.

Hardeman and Dolan played at HBU at the same time and both were prospects for the NFL.

“I talked to him during the draft and we sent each other motivational things -- stay positive during the draft. Our main thing was trying to put the university on the map. Me and him had the opportunity to do so,” explained Hardeman.

“After the draft was over and I got my call that Sunday morning from Buffalo, he was very happy for me and I remember texting him, telling him, ‘It’s going to happen for you. Continue to work out and stay positive,'” said Hardeman.

He, like many others, is having a tough time understanding what exactly happened.

As far as the legacy Dolan leaves behind, there’s no doubt he will be remembered for what he accomplished as a two-time All-American, four-time All-Southland Conference selection and having the seventh-most tackles in Football Championship Subdivision history.

“That man is that program. He is a legend at that school, in the classroom, outside the classroom, on the football field -- he is HBU, and people are really going to miss that,” said Hardeman.

While Dolan will be remembered for his talents on the field, it’s who he was off the field his friends and family will miss the most.

“He was the type of person you would want to be around. He was the nicest guy. He never had anything bad to say about anybody. He was just so full of life,” Robinson said.

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