by Bethel University
Former Bethel University student-athlete and 2019 alumnus Zach Grooms was killed on Monday, Jan. 25, near Reelfoot Lake. During his time at Bethel, Grooms earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and was a member of the archery team.
"Our hearts are saddened with the tragic news of Zach Grooms and Chance Black," said Bethel University President Dr. Walter Butler. "We ask everyone to remember them, their families and everyone that has been touched by this tragedy. Grooms was an avid outdoorsman while at Bethel, and we are going to miss him as part of our alumni family. Please join us in praying for their families during this time."
According to friends, Grooms was a selfless individual that poured into the lives of others and was a leader on his team where others looked up to him and admired him. He was active on campus and always enjoyed supporting Bethel athletics.
Autumn Webb, a senior nursing student, said she has known Grooms since high school and credited him for encouraging her to come to Bethel.
"He was the person that got me excited about coming to Bethel and playing a sport. I was getting ready to sign to play golf, and he was already there on the archery team."
She described Grooms as always putting others first and willing to give the shirt off his back for anyone. "He would make you laugh and smile even when you were having a bad day,” Webb said. "And even if he was having a bad day, he wanted to be there for everybody else. We hunted together, played golf together and had classes together. He was a person that I had for the last four years that invested in me continuously."
"He was a fine young man. He was one of my team captains and a leader. Everyone loved Grooms. He had a great personality,” Archery Coach Kenny Louden said.
"Grooms brought a smile to campus," Webb said. "He led through service and was purposeful in his life."
Louden said that he had the privilege of leading Grooms to the Lord and baptizing him.
"We were at an archery shoot in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and on Sunday, I did a devotional, like I always do. After the message, Grooms hung around after everyone else left and asked Jesus to come into his heart. A few weeks later, I baptized him in a swimming pool,” Loudon said.
The University extends its condolences to the Grooms's family, friends and the greater community.