Goolsby's star shines after tragedy

Published: Dec. 25, 2017 at 5:28 PM CST
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When Denzel Goolsby walked to the stage in in July of 2015, he poured his heart out.

"You have to understand that god's not throwing you off the side of the mountain for nothing, he's just redesigning you so that you can go farther in life," said the Bishop Carroll graduate.

His father had died of a brain aneurysm less than 24 hours before accepting the award.

"At 18 years old, thinking of what to say to your dad for the last time. There's very few moments I've felt so alone in my life."

"This is an 18 year old man, that's reacting to a difficult situation. I don't think I could handle that situation with as much positivity and grace as this young man is," admired his former coach at Carroll, Dusty Trail.

Football was always the common bond between he and his father.

"He wanted to be there and I just remember, win or lose, that was always something that was really special to me," says Goolsby.

"He definitely was hard on me, but he was supportive," remembered Goolsby.

But that bond broke during his freshman year of high school.

"We had a family fallout in early January of that year. I just remember we didn't speak or hear much from him."

With his father out of the picture, Denzel's mother was forced to work several jobs to support he and his sister. She inspired Denzel to get work on the football field, because it was his only way to pay for college..

"She works harder than anyone I know. She doesn't complain. She comes home late at night after working 2-3 jobs. I look up to her and I'm inspired by her."

Her inspiration led him to Bill Snyder and K-State, where he earned that scholarship, and now he's become a starter on defense, and third leading tackler on the team.

Before his father died, he and Denzel had mended their relationship, long enough for him to see Denzel graduate.