Tyler Linderbaum Impacts His Hometown – Sports Illustrated Iowa Hawkeyes News, Analysis and More
Mention Tyler Linderbaum’s name to a Solon kid and chances are you’ll get a smile and a pair of bright eyes in return.
Linderbaum is more to this town of 3,000 than bragging rights, an All-America consensus center in Iowa and an NFL first-round pick. He is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound giant of an idol.
“Absolutely he is a role model,” Solon Mayor Steve Stange said. “A humble person who worked very hard for what he achieved.”
No one understands the importance of a positive role model better than Dr. Davis Eidahl, Superintendent of Schools for the Solon Community School District.
“His work ethic, his enthusiasm, his commitment and the way he treated others represent the values we do our best to promote at Solon Schools,” Eidahl said.
Adam Haluska once had similar role model status in his hometown of Carroll, where his skills and drive took him from high school star to All-Big Ten basketball player in Iowa and a pick of second round of the NBA Draft.
Today, Adam, his wife, Kendra, and their four children live in Solon. Adam is a financial advisor in Coralville and vice president of the Solon School Board. And he can’t say enough good things about Tyler Linderbaum.
“He was so special with the young kids,” Haluska said.
The Linderbaum Fan Club begins in the Haluska house. When Tyler sold sweatshirts and t-shirts featuring his likeness last season after the NIL legislation passed, the Haluskas were good customers.
“It was a big problem in Solon,” Haluska said. “My kids have like every designed sweatshirt they’ve gone out with.”
And like many of Solon’s youngsters, the Haluska’s three eldest were huddled around the television as the NFL Draft unfolded on April 28. Jerzey, Jace and Jett, ages 13 to 7, were eagerly waiting to see where Linderbaum would go.
But as the draft reached halfway through the first round, Adam ended the party. It’s a school night, kids, it’s time to go to bed.
“I felt bad not letting them stand,” Adam said. “I told them, ‘I’ll let you know tomorrow morning where he gets drafted.
The next morning, Haluska shared with her kids that Tyler left for Baltimore with the 25th pick in the first round.
“We don’t have professional sports here,” Haluska said. “When you have a local kid and a Hawkeye stepping onto the big stage, that’s big news.”
Anyone who has crossed paths with Linderbaum and his parents, Lisa and Todd, is quick to mention a long line of positive family traits – hardworking and humble are at the top of the list.
“Todd and I went to school together, and you won’t find a nicer family than Todd and Lisa Linderbaum,” Stange said.
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Todd Linderbaum’s parents were popular teachers in the Solon school system.
“Two teachers that every student loved,” Stange said. “So when you’re surrounded by love, encouragement, and a family history of being a good person, you’re instantly a role model for how to live your life and how to treat people. See this type of person in our community to succeed is something very special and we are proud of him and wish him only success.
Tyler earned $30,000 from the sale of his NIL merchandise. He donated that money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. A photo of Tyler posing outside the hospital with an oversized check provides a concrete example of Stange’s words.
“Anyone in town would tell you he has great parents and comes from a great family,” Haluska said. “So it’s no surprise to see how much he’s done with charity in and around Iowa.”
Linderbaum’s role model status in Solon is not a new trend.
“Tyler was an amazing role model for our students and student-athletes during his time at Solon,” Eidahl said. “He always remained humble and respectful, regardless of his successes and accolades. He led without even speaking through his work ethic and enthusiasm. It was easy to see how much he loved to ‘play’, whether a practice or a game.He made time to visit primary school for various reasons during his high school years, which has always been a favorite for young children.
At Solon, children are encouraged to participate in as many sports as possible. Linderbaum was a poster child for this. He wrote four times in baseball and three times in football, wrestling and athletics. He also played basketball before turning to wrestling.
“He was an amazing basketball player,” Haluska said. “I remember playing in a pickup match with him right after the wrestling season ended. I’m thinking, ‘This guy hasn’t picked up a basketball in about a year, he just finished competing at wrestling state and he looked like he was in great shape there.’ ”
As Linderbaum competed in Solon, he also set an example for future Spartans.
“He demonstrated to our middle school and high school student-athletes the importance of having fun and taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to you,” Eidahl said. “He proved that you don’t have to specialize in one sport to be successful.”
Solon’s coaches used Linderbaum as an example to encourage children to play multiple sports.
“His success also demonstrates that hard work, commitment and concern for others will lead to great things,” Eidahl said.
When Linderbaum was in high school, the Haluskas and other neighbors hired him to dress up as Santa and walk down a path behind their homes, ring bells, and shout “Ho, Ho, Ho” to entertain the kids.
Santa is now a first-round NFL pick. Before the project, analysts screen prospects for flaws. In Linderbaum’s case, there was speculation that his arms were too short to play center in the NFL.
“They talk about side arms, this and that,” Haluska said. “But this guy can play football. And it has an engine that won’t stop. I think those guys (Baltimore) knew just by watching the tape they were going to have someone special, and he’s going to do great things on that level.
Solon’s local hero is about to step into football’s biggest arena. But those who know him predict his heart will stay at home.
“I think he will play a big role in Solon’s future,” Haluska said. “And that’s what makes this city special.”