Zach Hoffpauir, a two-sport standout at Stanford who earned All-Pac 12 honours as a safety in football and played two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system, has died at age 26.
The University of Northern Colorado, where Hoffpauir was hired in February as an assistant football coach in charge of the safeties, said Hoffpauir died in his sleep on Thursday.
The school provided no further details.
“I am devastated by the loss of Zach Hoffpauir, a friend to me and my family since his playing days with my son Christian at Stanford,” Bears new head football coach said on Friday.
“He was like a brother to our boys and recently found his calling as our safeties coach at Northern Colorado.
“He was a young, intelligent coach with limitless potential.”
Tributes flow after death of Zach Hoffpauir
Hoffpauir, who was from Glendale, Arizona, was close friends with McCaffrey’s son, Christian, who’s now an All-Pro running back for the Carolina Panthers, when they both attended Stanford.
Christian McCaffrey paid tribute to Hoffpauir on his Instagram account Friday.
“Yesterday Heaven gained an angel, and I lost one of my best friends in the world,” he wrote.
He called Hoffpauir “a true friend and great brother to anyone he knew. He was a walking example of how to care for people, a rare soul.”
Hoffpauir was a safety for four seasons on the Cardinal football team, winning three Pac-12 titles and two Rose Bowls.
He also starred as an outfielder on Stanford’s baseball team and was drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2015.
Hoffpauir played two seasons of minor league ball, in 2015 and 2018, hitting .224 with three homers and nine RBIs in 107 at-bats in rookie and Class-A ball.
At Stanford, his three-year totals were 11 homers, 58 RBIs and a career .295 batting average.
We are heartbroken for the tragic loss of our brother, Zach Hoffpauir, gone far too soon. Zach lit up every room he walked into, intent on giving his vitality and passion to bring out your best.
Our thoughts and love are with Zach’s family and friends.
Rest In Peace, Hoff 🙏 pic.twitter.com/lAEXjLRv4S
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) May 15, 2020
Our hearts are heavy with the tragic news of Coach Zach Hoffpauir. His impact on our team and the energy he brought will never be forgotten.
RIP Coach Hoff 🙏 pic.twitter.com/OInTcphzcM
— Northern Colorado FB (@UNC_BearsFB) May 15, 2020
Shook up about this. Zach could light up a room like it was nothing, and had this amazing, unique personality. Praying for the Hoffpauir family during this time. https://t.co/fXrX7HKBDZ
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) May 15, 2020
Tremendously sad news: Former Stanford DB Zach Hoffpauir, who played on a pair of Rose Bowl teams and returned to the Cardinal for the 2016 season after a pro baseball stint, has died at age 26. https://t.co/tDtPzdE3Nz
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) May 15, 2020
Your biggest fan
All American@Stanford Graduate
Baller on the @StanfordFball field
Baller on the baseball diamond
Undefeated on the Dance Floor
Truly One of a Kind pic.twitter.com/UJadYwGEZs
— Coach Hoff (@kyle_hofmann_) May 15, 2020
This one hits us all so hard. RIP Zach, seriously a part of our family forever. We love you so much and thankful for all the crazy, fun, annoying, special and all around great times with you. Can’t believe you’re gone... but never forgotten❤️ @zach_hoffpauir pic.twitter.com/93OCvB8VQl
— Shelby Kitson (@luvshelbyjo) May 15, 2020