Mylan Hicks’ life and legacy will not soon be forgotten.
Family, friends and football teammates at Detroit Renaissance and Michigan State gathered Friday morning at New Providence Baptist Church in Detroit to pay tribute to the 23-year-old Hicks, who was shot and killed Sept. 25 in Calgary, Alberta.
Among those who spoke at the memorial service was Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio, who coached the former linebacker and defensive back in East Lansing in 2010-14.
“He had that gleam in his eye, that smile,” Dantonio told the large crowd at New Providence. “You’d ask him a question and he’d say, ‘Yes, Coach. Yes, Coach.’ What he did for people, his teammates, you really can’t put that into words.”
Along with Dantonio, many other current and former Michigan State players attended Friday’s service. Hicks played 32 career games at MSU and earned a degree in psychology.
“Mylan is my brother,” said former Spartans cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a 2014 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. “He was a passionate player. Everyone loved him. There are so many great memories, not just football. He is very special to us all.”
Hicks, who spent time in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, most recently played for the Calgary Stampede of the Canadian Football League.
After the Stampede’s victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sept. 24, Hicks and his teammates were celebrating at the Marquee Beer Market and Stage in Calgary.
According to police reports, there was a fight inside the club that eventually carried over to the parking lot. During the altercation, Hicks was shot and later died from his injuries. Nelson Tony Lugela, 19, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Hicks’ sister, Jazzmine Fowlkes, said her brother did not start the altercation and was only trying to defuse the situation.
“He will always be in my heart, every step of the way,” Fowlkes said after Friday’s service. “Mylan had a bond, not just with his football teammates, but with everybody he came in contact with. He was a humble, selfless person.”
Greg Donald, an assistant football coach at Renaissance in 1997-2011, believes Hicks was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shooting occurred.
“Don’t let the club environment fool you. Mylan was not a clubber,” Donald said. “He was with the fellas, after the game. His football family was his family. If something went wrong, Mylan probably did the right thing and tried to squash it, calm it down, but it didn’t work.”
“You talk about things you learn and things you try to embody, that’s what I’d say a Spartan Warrior is,” Dantonio said. “That’s what No. 6 was. Rest in peace.”
The Spartans also lost punter Mike Sadler this year. He was killed, along with Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, in a July car accident in Wisconsin.