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Golf coach killed in West Texas wreck graduated from Killeen High School

Texas DPS identified 9 people killed in fiery wreck
Golf team coach Tyler James
Golf team coach Tyler James(University of the Southwest)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX & AP) - Tyler James, the University of the Southwest Golf Team coach killed in a fiery wreck along with six members of his team, played golf and graduated from Killeen High School in Central Texas, KWTX has confirmed.

James was currently living in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Nine people died in the fiery, head-on collision in West Texas, including the six students and coach from the New Mexico university. James and his team were returning home from a golf tournament in Texas.

James was in his first season as the head coach of the Men’s and Women’s Golf program at USW.

His former teammates and coaches say its no surprise to see he made a career out of the game of golf.

“Always battling always competing he was one of those people who loved competing,” former teammate, Tony Fetters, said.

“He was very competitive [the team was] very competitive, mainly with each other,” their coach at the time, Kyle Winkler, said.

Tyler James (second from left wearing "K" hat) is seen here with his high school golf teammates.
Tyler James (second from left wearing "K" hat) is seen here with his high school golf teammates.(Courtesy Photo)

“I was the golf coach there for 14 years, before that I coached football and that’s where I met Tyler, his dad was one of our coaches and he would always be our ball boy on Friday nights,” Winkler explained.

He was also the Coach of the Men’s program at Brownwood High school in Texas, the assistant coach for the Men’s and Women’s golf team at Howard Payne University and a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Men’s and Women’s golf team at East Texas Baptist University.

After graduating from Killeen in 2014, James started his collegiate playing career at Ottawa University and finished his playing career and graduated at Howard Payne University. He received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Howard Payne University and received a Master’s of Science in Kinesiology from East Texas Baptist University.

“He had a passion for the game I know he loved what he was doing, its sad. trying to help kids do the same thing he got to do its sad and its a big loss,” Winkler said.

In the crash, a Dodge 2500 pickup truck crossed the center line of a two-lane road in Andrews County, about 30 miles east of the New Mexico state line, on Tuesday evening and crashed into a Ford transit van carrying members of the men’s and women’s golf teams, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Both occupants in the pickup and seven out of the nine people riding in the van died, DPS said.

Texas DPS identified the man riding in the pickup as Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas. An unidentified 13-year-old boy in the pickup with Siemens, also of Seminole, died as well.

The six people killed while riding in the Ford transit van with James were identified as Maurico, Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Laci Stone, 18, of Nocona, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

Two other people riding in the van are in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. DPS identifies those individuals as Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario, Canada.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday sent a 12-member “go team” to the crash site, including experts in human performance, vehicle and motor carrier factors and accident reconstruction, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said.

According to his bio on the university’s website, James was entering his first season as the head coach of the men’s and women’s golf program at USW.

He previously spent time as the coach of the men’s program at Brownwood High school in Texas and as the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s golf team at Howard Payne University where he oversaw recruiting, tournament day preparations, and day-to-day practice planning.

James started his collegiate playing career at Ottawa University, where he was a part of three team wins and had five top 10 finishes personally.

He finished his playing career and graduated at Howard Payne University where he collected three top 10 finishes. He received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Howard Payne University and received a Master’s of Science in Kinesiology from East Texas Baptist University.

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