Mom of UT student who dies after boxing: 'He is safe in the arms of Jesus'

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The mother of a University of Tennessee student, who police said collapsed at Boxing Weekend and later died, said he is safe in the arms of Jesus.

According to the Knoxville Police Department, Joseph Tanner Wray, died of cardiac arrest after participating in the Ace Miller Boxing Tournament. According to an official website, Boxing Weekend is an amateur boxing event for fraternity members in Knoxville. Each year, about 55 boxers compete in 11 different weight classes over the course of a weekend. They announced that, due to Wray's passing, the boxing tournament for Saturday night was canceled.

Wray's mother, Amy Schisler, said he was a junior at UT and was earning a degree in aerospace engineering.

"He was an exceptional young man," said Schisler. "He aimed for excellence in everything he did; second best was not good enough."

Police reported that Wray was given medical assistance on-scene by medical personnel after he collapsed as he was about to sit on his stool in the ring. Police said he was transported to UT Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Officials are waiting on autopsy results to determine a cause of death. Local 8 News was told the rest of the event was postponed and attendees were told to leave the arena for the night.

Wray's mom chose to remember how he lived during his time on earth. She told Local 8 News Wray was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.

"He was vice president," said Schisler. "He loved it, he loved his brothers, all the activities, he just loved being in that fraternity."

Schilser told Local 8 News Wray would want his fraternity brothers to know that he is in God's hands and that they need to live life to the fullest.

"I want every mama and daddy out there to hug their babies close because they may not have tomorrow," said Schisler.

On Saturday, UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport offered Wray's friends and family condolences.


A prayer vigil for Wray was held at 10:30 p.m. at UT.

The Tickle College of Engineering shared its condolences for Wray and his family, tweeting "We are saddened by the sudden loss of Tanner Wray, UT aerospace engineering student. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

The honors program at UT tweeted as well, saying they're "deeply saddened" by Wray's loss.


VFL and former aerospace engineering student Josh Dobbs tweeted on Wray's loss as well, saying "This is devastating! Praying for Tanner and his family!"

The Office of Sorority & Fraternity Life sent a message to the Greek community offering counseling to everyone who needs help processing the tragedy.

"Please take care of one another during this difficult time, and call 865.974.HELP if you or any members of your chapters need additional support. This phone number is available 24/7 and is a referral service for individuals concerned about the safety and well-being of others, and cares for students in crisis," the letter read.

UT's counseling center, according to university officials, is prepared to meet with individuals or entire organizations.

Police said the investigation into Wray's death is ongoing.