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Hours before Coronado SEAL candidate's death, 'everything was great'

navy seal kyle mullen
Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 23:51:12-05

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - The former football coach of a Navy SEAL candidate who died after completing ‘Hell Week’ believes he was doing ‘great’ hours before his death.

“He was among the best of the best on and off the field. He was intelligent, unassuming, and always helped the younger guys,” said Ed Gurrieri.

When Kyle Mullen starred on the football field at Manalapan High in New Jersey, Gurrieri was his coach. Gurrieri says Mullen went on to play for Yale, becoming an All-Ivy defensive player.

A few years in, Mullen decided he wanted to join the military.

"He just felt it was important to serve his country. That was basically his thought process,” said Gurrieri.

On Friday, Mullen—who had been in the Navy for less than a year—died after completing ‘Hell Week’—a grueling 120 hour week that tests a Navy SEAL candidate's physical and mental strength.

Mullen's mother texted Gurrieri after four Navy personnel showed up at her home to inform her of his death.

“Absolutely devastated. She took him back and forth to school to games, to everything … He was her whole world,” said Gurrieri.

Gurrieri says according to Mullen's mom, she and Mullen talked on the phone a few hours after he completed training that day. He had been in the water.

“He's finished and he completed the course—and everything was great,” said Gurrieri.

Gurrieri believes a few hours later, an ambulance was called to the barracks for another SEAL candidate.

“The ambulance goes there to try and revive the other young man … and I think they noticed Kyle in the bed,” said Gurrieri.

The Navy says both sailors were rushed to hospitals. Mullen passed away, while the other sailor remains in stable condition.

As the Navy's probe into Mullen's death gets underway, his friends and family grieve and wait.

“They’re looking for answers just like everybody else. Just sad. You never expect someone to go at 24 years old,” said Gurrieri.

Gurrieri says Mullen was in excellent health and had no underlying conditions.