Anthony Bottoni, a junior starting guard for the Catholic University football team, was killed in the early morning of Dec. 29 when the car in which he was a passenger slammed into a tree in Summit, N.J. Bottoni, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
The driver of the vehicle, James Galbally, 20, was charged with driving while intoxicated. Another Catholic student, lacrosse player Mike Fithian, 20, was also a passenger in the vehicle. Fithian was treated and released at a nearby hospital.
More than half of the Catholic football team attended Bottoni's funeral, which was held Dec. 31.
"[He] was truly a leader," said Tom Clark, Bottoni's football coach at Catholic. "One kid seldom has an impact over a large group, but this kid did. He actively pursued relationships with all the players on the team. He was beloved by the coaching staff."
In his first two seasons, Bottoni, a native of Warren, N.J., started all 22 games and last year was part of an offensive line that helped Catholic set a school season record for rushing yards (2,044) and rank seventh nationally in Division III in scoring offense and total offense.
"I'm very sad that we didn't [elect captains] while he was alive," Clark said, "because he was going to be a captain. There's no question about that. We're certainly going to honor that by keeping his spirit alive."
Bottoni, the son of Louis and Alida Bottoni, was a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee at Catholic and was majoring in human resource management. A memorial service will be held on campus this month.