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‘He was very admired’: Lynn on death of former Loper Hinwa Allieu

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 11:21 PM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The University of Nebraska-Kearney football team is grieving after former Loper defensive lineman and 2021 graduate Hinwa Allieu died in a car crash early Sunday morning.

On Monday, UNK coach Josh Lynn provided his perspective on Allieu’s impact on himself, the program and the community at-large.

“It’s a time of grieving,” Lynn told Local4 Sports. “Something like this is extremely difficult in regards to how close our team is and the relationship a lot of our players, especially our older players, have with Hinwa. And the thing about Hinwa was that he was very admired by everybody on the team.

“I coached Hinwa for three and a half years and I was around him just about every day during the season and offseason. Just an incredible young man. And the relationship I had with him as a coach and watching him develop as a young man and a football player — we spent a lot of time together. It’s pretty hard to take.”

Allieu’s younger sister, Nyawa, started a fundraiser on Monday to raise funds for funeral services and body transport back to his home of Sierra Leone in west Africa. There have been almost $14,000 raised out of an original goal of $20,000.

“We were fortunate enough to get him at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, to come play for us for four years,” Lynn said. “You just look at his path, about where he was and where he came and the opportunities that football gave him, and he took every single advantage of it. And he did it with a smile on his face every day. He was the most kind-hearted person off the field, but was just an incredible football player on the field. He handled a lot of adversity and he handled it with a smile. He overcame a lot of barriers and I think that’s what made him a special person.”

Allieu played football for UNK from 2016-19, recording 160 tackles and 15.5 sacks for the Lopers as a defensive lineman. The three-time All-MIAA selection signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in April of 2020. He graduated from UNK in July.

“He was a big individual, very good football player, but his heart was as big as anybody,” Lynn said. “And just him as a teammate and as a person and the way he handled his business within our football program was incredible.”

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