One of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history was found dead in the Michigan woods last night after he had been missing since Sunday evening. But the circumstances surrounding his death provided more new questions than answers. The body of Cullen Finnerty, the 30-year-old former three time Division II national championship quarterback for Grand Valley State University, was recovered in the woods near the Webber Township, about 65 miles north of Grand Rapids, Tuesday evening. Finnerty was missing since Sunday evening, when he called his family and made a plea for help.
Finnerty decided to go fishing Sunday evening after Memorial Day celebrations with his family. So he grabbed a boat and went to a family cottage in the woods. But something went wrong that night. Finnerty called his family, said he "was nervous about something," and that he was in danger, Sheriff Robert Hilts told reporters Tuesday night. He asked to be picked up. The family was worried "he might be having some kind of a mental episode - that he was either afraid or something and ran off into the woods," Hilts explained.
After days of tracking his cell phone until the battery died, and then a search party with hundreds of volunteers from Finnerty's football past, his body was finally found Wednesday evening still wearing fishing waters and hunting gear. He was a half mile from the cabin where he was supposed to stay. Hilts explained that no foul play is expected in Finnerty's death. They would have to wait for autopsy results to figure out what happened.
Finnerty was a stud quarterback for Grand Valley State University. He won three national championships between 2003 and 2006 in the NCAA's Division II and left school with a 36-4 record. He briefly did stints with the NFL's Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens, but never got time on an NFL field. His coach freshman year was Notre Dame's current head coach Brian Kelly, who described the whole scenario as "very chilling" before Finnerty's body was recovered.