Beyond The Trophy: John Kinder, Stony Brook University


KINDER IMAGEName: John Kinder

College: Stony Brook University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 195, senior, quarterback

High School: Lawrence HS in Long Island, NY

About John Kinder: A transfer from Syracuse University, Kinder already graduated from Syracuse in 2014 and is using his final year of college eligibility at Stony Brook to obtain a masters degree in higher education administration. A wide receiver and quarterback at Syracuse who appeared in four games, Kinder already had experience with Uplifting Athletes at his former school and is working hard to get the Stony Brook Chapter established. He’s appeared in five games this season for the Seawolves at quarterback, throwing for 356 yards and one touchdown. A standout high school quarterback, Kinder was the 2009 New York Class A Player of the Year and threw for more than 5,000 yards during his prep career.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

KINDER: As a player my favorite part of the game day experience is simply the feeling I get when I wake up in the morning knowing that it’s game day. As a football player you train extremely hard, from winter workouts into spring ball, then summer camp, and then in-season practices. We as football players appreciate game day so much because we put so much into it only to have a few opportunities to showcase all of this hard work.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

KINDER: My former teammate at Syracuse University, Eric Morris insisted I get involved with Uplifting Athletes when he discovered I was coming to Stony Brook. He knew I had a passion for serving others and he thought that along with it going toward a good cause, it would be a great way to jump right in and begin being a leader for my fellow teammates. It was an excellent suggestion on his part and I’m glad I got involved with Uplifting Athletes.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

KINDER: My most memorable experience as a college football player didn’t come on the playing field, it came in the classroom. As a freshman I struggled academically, I worked and worked to dig myself out of the hole I dug for myself in that first semester of my freshman year. My most memorable moment as a college football player came when I had my first 3.0 semester.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

KINDER: The toughest team I’ve ever faced would have to be USC, they had tons of talent all over the field and although we gave them a great game, in the end they were just too much for us to keep up with.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

KINDER: I enjoy watching Everett Golson, the quarterback of Notre Dame play. I think he throws the ball very well and what makes him an excellent player are those intangibles that you can’t coach such as his natural feel for the pocket and his running ability.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

KINDER: My favorite NFL player is Marshawn Lynch, because he plays every single snap with a passion and energy that you don’t often see his opponents match. I think he instills a fear in opposing defenses because of his aggressive, “dog mentality,” and demeanor on the field.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

KINDER: My favorite road stadium to play in is MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and Jets.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

KINDER: Some things that I look forward to in life after football are having a family and one day being a great husband and father. In terms of a career, I look forward to helping facilitate growth and development in college students as they embark on their journey of self-discovery.

Beyond The Trophy: Colin Tanigawa, University of Washington


TANIGAWAName: Colin Tanigawa

College: University of Washington

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 292, senior, center

High School: Loyola HS in Pasadena, Calif.

About Colin Tanigawa: A starter on the offensive line since he was a redshirt freshman, Tanigawa has played guard and center for the Huskies. Twice his season has been cut short by knee injuries, though. He started 11 games as a redshirt freshman at left guard before missing the final two games. His sophomore season was cut short after only two games because of another knee injury. Last year he was named a team captain, and the co-founder and President of the Washington Chapter started every regular-season game at guard. This year he was moved to center and has been making the snaps and lines calls for the Huskies all season.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

TANIGAWA: My favorite part of the game day experience at Husky Stadium is going in after warm ups with the whole team, saying a prayer together, and coming out of the locker room right before the game starts and seeing the packed stadium full of fans.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

TANIGAWA: The main thing that drove me to get involved with Uplifting Athletes was using the position I am currently lucky to be in, to help others who are in need. I also wanted to get the University of Washington football program in touch with something as special as Uplifting Athletes.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

TANIGAWA: Probably would have to be playing and winning in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl last year. It was a great experience to be able to spend a week in San Francisco, playing football in AT&T Park, and helping out at a food bank on Christmas.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

TANIGAWA: LSU my sophomore year. Playing against those guys was especially different because they were a lot bigger and stronger guys that I have usually face.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

TANIGAWA: I would probably have to say Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. I’ve always been impressed by his speed, especially seeing it in person.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

TANIGAWA: Probably Marshawn Lynch because of how tough of a runner he is and how hard he is to bring down.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

TANIGAWA: The Rose Bowl, because I grew up in Pasadena always wishing to one day play in that stadium.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

TANIGAWA: I’m looking forward to seeing the skills I have learned through football translate into whatever career path I choose.

Beyond The Trophy: Jim Brown, Clemson University


JIM BROWNName: Jim Brown

College: Clemson University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-4, 230, redshirt junior, long snapper

High School: Pinewood Prep School in Walterboro, SC

About Jim Brown: Originally a walk-on at Clemson, the President of the newly formed Uplifting Athletes Chapter has earned a spot on the roster for the third consecutive season. Brown has appeared in two games for the Tigers, and is in line to become the starting long snapper next year. A management major, Brown was an ACC Academic Honor Roll member in 2012.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

BROWN: The best part about game day at Clemson has to be rubbing Howard’s Rock and running down the hill. It is a tradition like no other. Getting the chance to experience it in front of 81,000 fans makes it really special.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

BROWN: I became interested after Scott Shirley came and spoke to our football team about the organization. His story was incredibly inspiring and motivational.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

BROWN: My most memorable moment was probably the 2014 Orange Bowl. We had an amazing trip to Miami and topped it off with a big win against Ohio State.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

BROWN: Our rivalry against the University of South Carolina is one of the best in the country. It’s always a tough game whether it’s home or away. The fans from both teams get really involved and make the rivalry special.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

BROWN: I got to watch a lot of football on Saturday since we had a Thursday night game, and one team that I really liked was TCU. I don’t know any players in particular, but their team was very impressive.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

BROWN: Chandler Catanzaro. He is a former Clemson kicker and now plays for the Arizona Cardinals. He just broke the rookie kicking record this season. Not only is he a great kicker, but he’s a super guy as well.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

BROWN: We played at Florida State this year and lost in a close one. I would have to say that was one of the toughest environments we have had to play in.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

BROWN: I know that the sport of football is not going to last forever for me. But its values don’t have to end when the game does. The priceless lessons, discipline, and experiences that football has taught me will be applied to whatever endeavors that I inquire in the real world. I am confident that these attributes will mold me into the successful individual that I aspire to be.

Beyond The Trophy: Michael Deeb, University of Notre Dame


MICHAEL DEEBName: Michael Deeb

College: University of Notre Dame

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 242, sophomore, linebacker

High School: American Heritage HS in Plantation, FL

About Michael Deeb: Only in his second year at Notre Dame, the prototype middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense is still working his way up the depth chart. Deeb had other offers coming out of high school including Florida State, Penn State and Ole Miss but chose the Fighting Irish. He became involved with Uplifting Athletes by sharing the same position with Notre Dame Chapter President Joe Schmidt. This season he’s appeared on special teams, but should see more playing time down the stretch. Schmidt, the starting MLB for the Irish, suffering an ankle injury last Saturday that ended his season.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

DEEB: My favorite part of the game day experience at our home stadium is the final seconds before opening kickoff. The refs blow the whistle, the crowd is going wild, and in that moment there is no where else in the world I’d rather be. No words can describe the feeling!

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

DEEB: Joe Schmidt has driven me to get involved with Uplifting Athletes. The experience for me has shown me the ability to make positive influence on the life of others through athletics. I love helping others and by participating in a sport that so many people watch we are able to reach out to a larger group and impact many lives.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

DEEB: My most memorable experience as a college football player was running out of the tunnel in our home stadium for the first time. Previously, the biggest crowd I had played against was maybe 3,000. A jam-packed 80,000-plus fan-filled stadium screaming for Notre Dame is an experience like no other. My first game freshman year going through that was almost overwhelming, but such a blessing and amazing feeling.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

DEEB: I would say Florida State because it was our most recent game and our first loss unfortunately. FSU is the defending National Champion and a very talented team. I believe what makes them so difficult is their high talent level and athletic ability. Many of the kids on there team are from Florida like me so we grew up playing with and against each other on the field.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

DEEB: I enjoy watching one of my best friends Tyler Carmona play for Navy. We played on the same high school team and have developed a close bond over the years. The Naval Academy plays the game tough and instills core values that we also adhere to at Notre Dame.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

DEEB: I don’t have a favorite player because I don’t know many NFL linebackers personally. Rather, I watch many of the greats and try to apply many of their successful traits to my game. Each linebacker has strengths. I search for that when I watch them play and work on implementing it in my training so I can apply it on the field.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

DEEB: My favorite road stadium thus far was Florida State because the amount of friends and family I was able to have at the game in support. Growing up n Florida many of friends chose to attend college at FSU and it is driving distance from my home so my entire family attended.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

DEEB: After football I want to have built a positive brand in my name. I want to make helping others a constant for my family as long as I live. Whether its staying involved with the game through youth football or in the business world I want to be able to commit myself to helping others always.

Beyond The Trophy: Andrew Mackay, University of Virginia


MACKAYName: Andrew Mackay

College: University of Virginia

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 200, junior, quarterback

High School: W.T. Woodson HS in Fairfax, Va.

About Andrew Mackay: One of four quarterbacks on the Cavaliers roster, Mackay is the 12th member of his family to attend the University of Virginia. A standout quarterback and baseball player in high school, Mackay threw for more than 3,000 yards during his high school career in a run-based offense. The four-year scholar-athlete is part of the leadership team that is starting the Virginia Chapter.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

MACKAY: My favorite part of game day is definitely running out of the tunnel. When the smoke clears and you see all of the fans cheering for us it is one of the best feelings.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

MACKAY: My involvement with Uplifting Athletes has been sparked by Mr. Scott Shirley coming and talking to me and a couple of my teammates about this great cause. I want to be involved for the same reasons as many others, I’m sure, and it’s because we have a special opportunity as college football players to influence a large number of people to contribute to some very worthy causes.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

MACKAY: So far, my most memorable experience has been beating No. 21 Louisville at home this year. It was something we knew we could accomplish and it was great to show how hard we’ve been working together to accomplish our goals. It was also awesome to join the fans on the field afterwards and to see how happy they were as well.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

MACKAY: I’d say the toughest team we’ve played since I’ve been here is Oregon. Their offense is second to none, and continuously presents a challenge to us that we are more than willing to accept. BYU is also a game that is always difficult and we look forward to every year.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

MACKAY:  Personally I enjoy watching Bryce Petty for Baylor University. He is a great quarterback that plays hard every play for his teammates.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

MACKAY: My favorite NFL player is Tom Brady because he is always the most prepared player on the field at all times. He knows so much about the game and about leadership that he is someone that I model my game after.

What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

MACKAY: Virginia Tech is always a great atmosphere for a rivalry game.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

MACKAY: After football, I want to use what I have learned to be able to make a difference in other people’s lives however I can. I also what to make sure that I can provide for my family and give the same and more opportunities to my kids that my parents were able to provide for my sister and I.

Beyond The Trophy: Devin O’Connor, North Carolina State


OCONNOR
Name:
Devin O’Connor

College: North Carolina State University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 236, sophomore, tight end

High School: Cartersville HS in Cartersville, Georgia

About Devin O’Connor: The former Defensive Player of the Year in high school took a real risk going to NC State. With little or no interest from college football programs at any level, O’Connor still went to Raleigh to chase his dream of becoming a Division 1 college football player. And he achieved his dream while also making a position change from defense to offense. After trying out in 2012 and redshirting, O’Connor started to make an impact on the scout team in 2013 and was rewarded with action in nine games on special teams. Later in the year he saw snaps in two games at tight end. The prior to camp this fall, the incoming President of the NC State Chapter, was rewarded with a full scholarship. Recently, O’Connor was recognized as a member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll for 2013.

As a player, what is your favorite part of the game day experience at your home stadium?

O’CONNOR: I would say my favorite part about the NC State game day experience is the walk of champions once we arrive at the stadium. Sometimes as a player, I get too caught up in the stress of executing my job on the field that I forget that I am playing a game that I have loved since I was a young child. Witnessing the love and support of the fans reminds me of the reasons I love football. My stress and nerves disappear at this moment and I am ready to play.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what, if anything, has this experience done for you?

O’CONNOR: I believe that I was given the opportunity to play at NC State for a reason. As a Division 1 football player, you have a platform of influence. Unfortunately, there is a lot negative influence that is seen on the news from football players lately. I want to use my platform for good. Uplifting Athletes is a wonderful opportunity for positive influence. Raising awareness for rare diseases may save someone’s life one day. That is more rewarding than anything that I will accomplish on the field.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

O’CONNOR: My most memorable moment as a college football player is when [NC State head coach Dave Doeren] rewarded me a scholarship this past summer. I tried out for the team two years ago my freshman year. Many people didn’t think that I would be able to accomplish my dream of playing D1 football. I even questioned myself during many stages of my journey. Receiving the scholarship was proof to me that God rewards those who remain faithful and work hard. I will never forget that moment.

What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play, and what makes them so difficult?

O’CONNOR: Florida State is the most difficult team that I’ve played. They are very fast.Their speed is on another level compared to other teams that we play. Florida State has very talented athletes in every position on the field. You have to bring you’re “A” game for them every time.

 What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?

O’CONNOR: I am in the Textile school studying Brand management and marketing. I am fairly new to Uplifting Athletes but hopefully I can bring some effective marketing strategies for the NC State Chapter.

Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?

O’CONNOR: Even though he is in some trouble right now, I love watching [Georgia running back]Todd Gurley play. He is a very explosive and fun player to watch.

 What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?

O’CONNOR: My favorite road stadium to play in is Death Valley at Clemson. It is a very hostile environment and it forces your team to be tight and together if you want to be successful. It is also two hours from my home in Georgia so much of my family is able to come watch me play.

In your words, what are some of the things you are looking for in life after football?

O’CONNOR: I am a very adventurous guy. I love the outdoors and do much backpacking and camping when I have time. Honestly, after college I plan on travelling around the US and Canada seeing natural wonders like Yosemite Valley, Zion National Park, Glacier National Park, and maybe complete the Appalachian Trail. I want to go wherever the wind takes me living only off the things I can carry on my back or in my car. I am really excited for all aspects of what the future holds. I am completely open to whatever God wants for me. I have already witnessed a taste of what it is like to trust in this because of where I am today playing for NC State with so many great opportunities in front of me. I know that there will be many hard times, but I believe it’s all in the outlook. I try to take on everyday like its my last, so if I wake up the next morning I am simply grateful for the fact that I am given another opportunity to live. With this outlook, nothing can keep you down for long.

Colgate hosts 7-year-old cancer survivor Colin Hayward at Ependymoma Awareness Game


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On Saturday, October 4, the Colgate Chapter of Uplifting Athletes hosted their second annual Ependymoma Awareness Game. 7-year-old ependymoma survivor Colin Hayward was once again Colgate’s special guest.

This time Colin and his family led the team onto the turf at Andy Kerr Stadium.

“We’ve been fortunate to be involved with a lot of sporting events over the years,” said Colin’s father, Ian. “But running out onto the field with the team was one of the most exciting things we’ve ever been a part of.”

Ependymoma is a rare form of cancer of the brain and spinal cord. Diagnosed at age 2, Colin has been completely paralyzed for much of his life. But after years of treatment, Colin was healthy enough to spend Saturday running around the sidelines and interacting with the Colgate football players.

Every time Colin saw Jimmy DeCicco, the former president of the Colgate Chapter, Colin greeted him with a big hug.

On the field at halftime, Ian was joined by his wife Tamiko and his sons Colin and Aiden.

“With the collaboration that Colgate has had with Uplifting Athletes, you help to give a kid like Colin a fighting chance,” said Ian to the crowd. “We are so very lucky to have the support of these fans and a great football team like Colgate.”

Colgate is currently hosting a season-long Touchdown Pledge Drive to raise research funds and awareness for ependymoma. To pledge a donation for every touchdown they score, please visit pldgit.com/colgate.