Officials said today that Michael Philbin, 21, the son of Green Bay Packers coach Joe Philbin, made a “non-distress” phone call to a friend shortly before he was heard shouting for help as he apparently tumbled into the icy Fox River.
Michael Philbin was reported missing around 8 p.m. Sunday, after not returning to the residence in Oshkosh where he was staying, Oshkosh police said. Philbin was visiting friends at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and made a phone call from the area around the river around 2:10 a.m. Sunday morning. Police said they are asking anyone that was with Philbin at the time to come forward with any information.
Investigators believe Philbin traveled the 20 miles from his home in Ripon to Oshkosh to visit friends. The group went out on Saturday night in the campus area but somehow Philbin got separated from them. Investigators do not suspect foul play in the death of Michael Philbin, but are trying to determine whether alcohol was a factor. Police said they will not know the cause of death until autopsy and toxicology results are returned in about four weeks.
Authorities were notified of the incident when a security guard at AxleTech, a company near the Fox river in Oshkosh, called around 2:30 a.m. Sunday after hearing someone shout for help, and seeing someone near the river. Police, fire, and dive team patrols searched the area, but did not find anyone on Sunday. A fresh search was conducted on Monday and Philbin was found around 3:15 p.m. approximately 30 yards from shore. Police did not reveal the identity of the body as Philbin until Tuesday morning, pending notification of the family. Michael Philbin is the second-oldest of six children to Joe Philbin and his wife, Diane.
In a statement released by the Packers Tuesday afternoon, Joe Philbin thanked local authorities for their efforts and compassion.
Joe Philbin has been with the Packers since 2003, and has been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2007.Though head coach Mike McCarthy calls the offensive plays, Philbin plays an active role in game-planning.
In a news release issued Tuesday morning, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said, “The Packers family was saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Philbin, son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe, his wife, Diane, and the Philbin family as they cope with their loss. This is an emotional and difficult time for them, and we ask
that everyone respect their privacy. All of us in the Packers family share in their grief.”