Lutzenkirchen’s legacy inspires Auburn family

February 9, 2018
Jack Smith | Auburn, AL

The father of former Auburn football great Philip Lutzenkirchen delivered a powerful message at the inaugural INSPIRE-AU lecture in Auburn on Wednesday, February 7.

Mike Lutzenkirchen shared the story of his son’s legacy, including the decisions that led to his tragic death and his positive impact on others—from sick children he spent time with to football players he coached as a volunteer.

Philip was a standout tight end at Auburn and a member of the 2010 National Champions. His father, who started a foundation to honor his son’s legacy after his death from an automobile accident in 2014, talked about the importance of being available for others.

"We are put on this earth to give back to the life of others,” Lutzenkirchen said. “The Lutzie 43 Foundation allows me to do this and makes me so proud of who my son is."

Lutzenkirchen began to understand philanthropy in a different way after his son’s death, when he learned how the talented tight end quietly reached out to others.

"I believe tithing is more than just ‘giving in church’,” he said. “Tithing is the gift of your talents, treasure, time and tenderness. And that is what is crucial for everyone to understand."

Philip Lutzenkirchen died in an automobile accident in 2014 after a night out drinking with his friends. His father challenged Auburn students in the audience to be more than a “good friend” who goes along with the crowd. He said “great friends” do what’s right no matter the circumstances.

Lutzenkirchen spoke candidly about his son’s blood alcohol level the night of his death. He also told the audience wearing a seatbelt could have saved his son’s life.

Since his son’s death, Lutzenkirchen has carried his message to more than 300 schools and organizations around the country.

INSPIRE-AU is a new lecture series presented by the College of Human Sciences’ Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, an academic center in the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University. The Center is recognized as a national leader, advancing knowledge and innovation in the areas of financial wellness, philanthropic engagement and nonprofit studies.

Mike Lutzenkirchen at the inaugural INSPIRE-AU lecture

Mike Lutzenkirchen shared the story of his son’s legacy at the inaugural INSPIRE-AU lecture in Auburn on Wednesday, February 7.