Friday, October 22, 2021

MSU community gathers to honor the life of former MSU punter Mike Sadler

September 24, 2021
	<p>Head coach Mark Dantonio talks to junior punter Mike Sadler during the game against Notre Dame Sept. 21, 2013, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish defeated the Spartans 17-13. Julia Nagy/The State News</p>

Head coach Mark Dantonio talks to junior punter Mike Sadler during the game against Notre Dame Sept. 21, 2013, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish defeated the Spartans 17-13. Julia Nagy/The State News

Photo by Julia Nagy | The State News

The Peanut Barrel hosted an event to celebrate and remember the life of former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler. In 2016, Sadler died in a car crash alongside Nebraska Cornhusker's football punter, Sam Foltz.  

"It's a celebration of Mike's legacy," Karen Sadler, mother of Mike Sadler and the President of the Michael Sadler Foundation said. "This was one of his favorite places to come to in East Lansing and he spent a lot of time here. When the owners found out what we were doing with the foundation and the number of lives that we impacted here, they were inspired to give back and do something to help our foundation."

Even some of Michigan State's very own staff members showed their respect for their fellow Spartan. Some were even wearing jerseys with Sadler's Michigan State number on the back of them.  

"I'm a Spartan and being a Spartan, we protect, we encourage the life and legacy of all other Spartans, and especially Mike, now that he can’t do it for himself," Doug Kelly said. "I love seeing the family here, the supporters. Mike passed away five years ago and to see all these people come out to support him and to support Karen. 

The bar was packed with nothing but love and support as almost every table had a glass of "Hey Diddle Diddle," one of Atwater Brewery's beers; a wheat ale is named after one of Mike Sadler's plays from his time spent on the field. On top of the ale, the bar donated 50% of the entire day's proceeds to the Michael Sadler Foundation.  

Mike's ex-teammates expressed some of the memories they had shared on and off the field. Mike's mother said she was surprised at some of the stories that friends had told. 

One of the Mike Sadler's friends that came was Michigan State football legend, Jalen Watts-Jackson. The former Spartans defensive back that scooped up the muffed punt by Michigan to secure a win in the now infamous 2015 game between Michigan and Michigan State.

"Mike was a great teammate, a great friend," Watts-Jackson said. "He brought energy every day, to the meeting room, to the field, and even as a guy, being a special team's guy, they aren't so much as around the team. You always felt Mike's energy, no matter what was going on." 

Along with the occasion that the Peanut Barrel held, the Michigan State vs. Nebraska game will have a tribute for Mike Sadler and Foltz. In front of thousands of fans and family, the young men will be cherished and looked back upon for what they had shared during the time they were here.   

"What Saturday means to us is, first of all, it's a really meaningful day for the Foltz family, as well as our family because it's bringing the legacy that Mike and Sam created back to the storefront," Karen Sadler said. "It means that they're not forgotten. It means that they still have an impact."

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