The University of Houston is mourning the loss of a former linebacker this week.
Sgt. 1st Class Sam Hairston was killed earlier this week in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense announced that Hairston's unit took small-arms fire from the enemy in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Sam Hairston and express our greatest condolences to his wife, Tawana, son, Hayden, extended family and wide circle of friends. Sam was not only a valuable member of the Houston family but an American hero," Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said. "He is an inspiration to all of us and will always be remembered as a great Cougar. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sam's family and friends."
Hairston, who was a linebacker and defensive lineman from 1997-2000, had 55 tackles and four sacks during his career at Houston.
He joined the Army in 2003 and served as a paratrooper and platoon sergeant with A Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division of Fort Bragg, N.C.
While in the Army, Hairston was awarded multiple prestigious awards including a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.