Navy SEAL Candidate Kyle Mullen, a Former College Football Star, Dies After Hell Week Training

Another Navy SEAL candidate was hospitalized and remains in stable condition

Kyle Mullen
Kyle Mullen. Photo: Monmouth Hawks; Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A Navy SEAL candidate is dead and another has been hospitalized after they both completed training known as Hell Week.

Around 5:42 p.m. on Friday, 24-year-old Kyle Mullen — who was once a football player at Yale University and Monmouth University — was pronounced dead at the Sharp Coronado Hospital in San Diego, the Navy announced in a press release on Sunday.

Mullen, 24, and his Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL (BUD/S) class had just completed Hell Week, which is when sailors who wish to become SEALs go through intense training that pushes them to their physical and mental limits.

"Mullen was not actively training at the time of his death," the Navy said.

His cause of death remains under investigation.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to Seaman Mullen's family for their loss," Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a statement.

In a press release on Saturday, the Navy said that another candidate was in the hospital in stable condition after Hell Week. That sailor's identity has not yet been released.

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After news of Mullen's death was made public, many who knew the young man paid tribute to him on social media.

Monmouth University's head football coach, Kevin Callahan, wrote in a tribute on Facebook, "We are all saddened by the unfortunate passing of Kyle Mullen. As a member of our 2019 championship team, he will be remembered not just as a excellent player, but also as an excellent person and a great teammate."

Kyle Mullen
Kyle Mullen. Monmouth Hawks

Noting that Mullen — a native of Manalapan, New Jersey — was "highly motivated on the field," Callahan said that "his maturity, intelligence, and concern for his fellow teammates is what stands out."

"On behalf of President Leahy and the entire Monmouth University community, we wish to offer condolences to the Mullen Family on their loss," he concluded.

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Meanwhile, Manalapan High School football coach Ed Guerreri remembered him as a "great athlete but a better person" during his tenure on the team in his teenage years, per USA Today.

"Everybody loved him," he added. "Probably one of the best kids I ever had. Great, great kid on the field but even better off the field."

Guerrieri said that Mullen was an honor society student, the outlet reported.

"[He] worked hard at everything he did, never gave less than 100%, got along with everybody," he told the newspaper.

Kyle Mullen
Kyle Mullen. Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The football coach said his high school football team will wear a "44" sticker, representing Mullen's old number, on their helmets during the upcoming season.

According to NBC News, "about one in five" individuals who take part in the "Hell Week" training are able to make it through to completion. The outlet reported that the course produces around 200 to 250 SEALs each year.

The last candidate to die during training was 21-year-old James Lovelace, ABC News reported. The outlet said he drowned in a pool during the course in May 2016.

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