Incoming student dies over break, family and athletic community mourn

Photo courtesy of Noah Bryant

Shortly after 4 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2019, Bryce Gowdy was struck by a train and killed near his hometown of Deerfield Beach, FL. His death was investigated by a medical examiner and ruled a suicide. 

Earlier in the month, Gowdy had signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Tech and play football as a wide receiver. Gowdy, who was 17, had completed coursework at Deerfield Beach High School early and intended to begin classes at the Institute
on Jan. 6.

According to a Facebook live video released by his mother, Shibbon Mitchell, Gowdy had been exhibiting suicidal tendencies, such as paranoia and “talking crazy.” Gowdy and his family had also been struggling with homelessness.

“Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce’s passing,” Tech football head coach Geoff Collins said in a statement. “Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members.

“On behalf of our coaches, players, staff and families, we offer our deepest condolences to Bryce’s mother, Shibbon, and his brothers, Brisai and Brayden, as well as the rest of his family members, his teammates and coaches at Deerfield Beach High School, and his many friends. Bryce and his family will always be a part of the Georgia Tech football family.”

Gowdy’s death was the second tragedy endured by Yellow Jackets football in 2019. In March, Brandon Adams collapsed at a friend’s apartment and later was pronounced dead due to natural causes at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

Shortly after Gowdy’s death, a GoFundMe page was created for the Gowdy family to ensure that “all of their needs are met in the short term, making sure that funeral expenses are covered and planning for their shelter in the long-term,” according to the page description. At the time of writing, the fundraiser has generated over $120,000.

“As we grieve, we have received support beyond our belief. We always knew Bryce was loved and adored by many, but this level of support, has been a true testament to his legacy,” said a statement from the Gowdy family posted on the GoFundMe page on Jan. 3.

If you or someone you know is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or visit