Cause of NDSU’s Jangula’s death still unknown
WILLISTON -- Tyler Jangula made an impact on the lives of family and friends long after he left North Dakota State. The former NDSU football player died in his Williston home Sunday.
WILLISTON - Tyler Jangula made an impact on the lives of family and friends long after he left North Dakota State. The former NDSU football player died in his Williston home Sunday.
He was 28 years old.
Rheanda Axtman, Jangula’s sister, said Monday the family still doesn’t know the cause of death. She said Jangula had surgery for an Achilles injury Friday morning.
“We’re not sure what happened. We’re still kind of waiting,” said Axtman, who is 26. “We found him in the morning and he just didn’t wake up from his sleep. They aren’t sure what happened.”
Autopsy results are expected as early as today, Axtman said.
She said her brother was injured while playing a recreation league basketball game on Jan 21. After his surgery on Friday, Jangula was recovering normally, walking around on crutches and watching TV, Axtman said.
‘The biggest Teddy bear’
Axtman remembers her brother as a loving, funny and kind person who was protective of her when the two attended NDSU together. She said there were a few funny stories from their time spent in Fargo.
“Ty was the typical big brother. … He would not let any of those football players talk to me unless they got through him,” she said. “One of his good buddies … when I ran track made a sign that said: ‘Rheanda, will you marry me, but don’t tell your brother,’ and I think Ty was going to kill him. It was pretty funny.”
Axtman said they shared friends, partied together and were one big family when they were in college.
“His guy friends were like my big brothers and my girlfriends were like his little sisters,” she said.
Jangula has a younger brother, Logan Jangula, 24, who also attended NDSU, but not at the same time.
Tyler Jangula wasn’t about the hype or attention that came with playing football.
“But he loved what he did and he had the biggest heart. He was the biggest Teddy bear,” Axtman said. “He would’ve done anything for anybody.”
Axtman said the family has received a lot of support from Jangula’s former teammates, friends and coaches. The North Dakota State Bison Facebook page changed its profile picture to Jangula’s number, and more than 1,000 people liked the post. A few shared condolences for the family in the comment section.
Moving back home
“He lived for his family and for his Bison football and those boys were his family,” Axtman said.
After college, Jangula worked in Fargo for several years before he got a job in Williston working at a gas plant. He moved back with his parents last year, Axtman said.
“It was great to have him here that last year,” Axtman said. “It was probably the best thing just to be with him, now, knowing everything.”
Jangula never gave up his love for Bison football.
His sister said he watched every game - alone.
“He was always watching the game, but he would never watch it with us because it was too stressful,” she said.
NDSU’s fourth NCAA Division I FCS national title game was no different, she said.
“Unless the Bison are kicking butt, other than that he’s in his room watching by himself,” she said.
Jangula wanted others to be great athletes, too. He was an assistant coach for the Fargo South High School football team in 2012.
“The season we had him he was a great coach,” said Fargo South head football coach Troy Mattern.
Mattern said Jangula’s time at NDSU gave him instant credibility and he maintained a good rapport with the team.
“It was shocking news. You never expect a young man like him to pass away the way he did,” Mattern said.
Jangula helped with minicamps and enjoyed coaching younger kids to work on their fundamentals.
He also loved baseball. Axtman said that was his first love. He played baseball, basketball, football and track in high school.
The family plans to start a scholarship for Williston students who want to attend NDSU. Axtman said her parents, Randi and Henry Jangula, wanted to start the scholarship so NDSU will always remember their son. The details of the scholarship haven’t been finalized.
The family hasn’t settled on plans for the funeral or memorial services, but services will likely be on Friday and Saturday, Axtman said.
Jangula is survived by his parents and two siblings.