FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Monday is September 11th. On this day 22 years ago, our country was attacked. Thousands of people died, including a former Fresno State football player: Otis Tolbert.
Tolbert was stationed in Washington, D.C. He died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into his office at the Pentagon.
Tolbert, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, was from Lemoore. He played football for the Bulldogs in the early 1980’s.
“He was on the team that I played on,” said Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford on Monday morning. “He was one of our fullbacks. And, so, I always remember Otis on this day.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Coyle remembers what his brother went through on this day.
Coyle, Fresno State’s defensive coordinator, has a brother named Harry who was a New York City firefighter. He was one of the first responders on 9/11.
“This day has always been a sad day, and a day to remember,” said Coyle. “And a day to honor those that passed. Being a firefighter, my brother was actually in the north tower when the south tower went down. They were evacuating people during the attack. His battalion, they were able to get out after the first tower went down and were in the street when the second tower was going down trying to find shelter behind the fire trucks and things that were all there.
“By the grace of God, he survived. But many of his brothers in the fire department didn’t.”