Each week we will feature a college football player who is either a member or an officer in a Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.
Name: Tyler Purvis
College: North Carolina State University
Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 240 pounds, junior, fullback
High School: Lancaster Catholic HS, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
About Tyler Purvis: A former walk-on for the Wolfpack, Purvis played wide receiver in high school but has transformed himself into a pass catching fullback. He also worked as a tight end during his redshirt freshman year in 2010. Last year he had five catches including a pair of touchdown grabs against Georgia Tech. Purvis is an officer in the NC State Uplifting Athletes Chapter.
As a player, what is your favorite part of game day you get to experience at your home stadium?
Purvis: My favorite part of the game day experience at Carter Finley would have to be running out of the tunnel. The smoke starts blowing in your face so you can’t see anything and then once you clear the smoke, you’re greeted by fireworks and 60,000 screaming fans. It is an awesome experience and gets you revved up for the game.
What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?
Purvis: My most memorable experience as a college football player would have to be when we played Georgia Tech last season. I was a redshirt freshman and second-string fullback at the time when the first string guy went down. I ended up playing the entire second half and ended with four catches, two of them being for touchdowns. I never thought playing fullback I would ever have two touchdowns in one game.
What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes, and what if anything has this experience done for you?
Purvis: I got involved in Uplifting Athletes mainly because one of my roommates was the one who started the chapter here at NC State. I saw some of the activities he was doing and the difference that he was making and I wanted to be a part of something bigger than just Division 1 football. I know that I am very blessed to be in the position that I am currently in here at NC State and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities that have been given to me to give back to those affected by rare diseases.
Facebook, Twitter or neither and why?
Purvis: I would have to go with Facebook only because I don’t have a Twitter and don’t really know much about it. I do use Facebook to keep in touch with all my friends and to see how everyone from back home is doing.
What is the toughest team you’ve faced or regularly play and what makes them so difficult?
Purvis: The toughest team that I have played is definitely Florida State. Everyone single one of their players is super fast and super athletic. They fly around and swarm to the ball.
What is your chosen major, and what if anything have you used from that major as a contribution to your Uplifting Athletes Chapter?
Purvis: I am majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. With NC State being a new chapter, we had never done a Lift For Life event. This past year was our first time organizing a lift and I used the skills I learned about marketing and advertising to spread the word about the event to try to raise money and awareness.
Besides one of your teammates, name a college football player you enjoy watching?
Purvis: I personally like watching the Oregon Ducks running back De’Anthony Thomas play. I have never seen someone so explosive on the field. He has the ability to make a game changing play every time he touches the ball.
Who is your favorite NFL player and why?
Purvis: I would have to say that my favorite NFL player is Peyton Manning. He is one of the smartest football players I have ever seen play the game and he is an excellent leader.
What was or is the inspiration for the Rare Disease your Uplifting Athletes Chapter is raising money for to be part of the fight?
Purvis: NC State’s rare disease is Leukemia. We chose this disease because our Offensive Coordinator, Dana Bible, was diagnosed with it a few years ago. He is currently in remission and is an inspiration to all of us to always keep fighting.
What is your favorite road stadium to play in and why?
Purvis: My favorite road stadium to play in is probably Clemson. Their fans are so loud and create a great game day environment and I personally like their entrance onto to field with the release of all of the balloons and walking through the crowd to get to the field.
As college football players at Penn State we were very aware of our position of social influence. Along with our jerseys we were also given a spotlight. Some athletes despise it, some deflect it and some learn to merely “live with it.” But fortunately, some athletes take this spotlight and turn it into a moment to shine – hoping to make a difference by daring to live B1G.
The Big Ten Network has done a great job telling our story – the story of how my father’s grim diagnosis with a rare disease inspired a group of Penn State football players to start a movement that has transcended any one person, disease or team. This movement has since spread to five other B1G Ten football teams and 15 college football teams in total. Together we have raised nearly 2 million dollars on the fundamental ideas that there are good kids on every team and that collectively they can mobilize their fans toward a cause they are passionate about.
“Success with honor” is a foundation rooted deeply in the Penn State culture that existed long before Damone Jones, Dave Costlow and I ever planned our first “Lift For Life” event. And it’s this foundation which I believe breeds the type of supportive coaches, administration and powerful fan base that encouraged us to run with our vision. Uplifting Athletes exists today because of this culture at Penn State and these positive ripples continue to roll across the college football landscape.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as the Executive Director of Uplifting Athletes is the opportunity to watch student-athletes mature as leaders through their participation in a chapter. After fellow Uplifting Athletes teams battle on the field, I watch the officers seek each other out after the game in a moment of great sportsmanship beyond the final score. I’m also getting to watch new treatments for rare diseases develop and come to market. Uplifting Athletes “lettermen” are graduating law school, business school, med school or taking jobs with Fortune 500 companies. We have now enough “alumni” playing in the NFL to field two full rosters.
Uplifting Athletes was never about one person, one team or one disease. It’s about each of us learning to leverage the position we’re in each in to make a positive and lasting impact. As student athletes we’re given a spotlight and Uplifting Athletes was created on the idea that this spotlight has the power to draw focus on the rare disease community and the inspiring efforts of students across the nation. That’s how we LiveB1G.
Patriot News writer, Stefanie Loh features Uplifting Athlete’s Executive Director, Scott Shirley in this news article published Tuesday, January 10th:
“Fall 2011 was a difficult time for many Penn State alums, who watched in despair as the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal dominated the nation’s attention and sullied the university’s once pristine reputation. But it was an especially trying time for former Nittany Lions wide receiver and Mechanicsburg native Scott Shirley, the founder and executive director of Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for rare disease research…”
Read the full article here: Scott Shirley hopes Uplifting Athletes will help Nittany Nation begin healing process.
Dear Friends of Uplifting Athletes,
I hope that you are enjoying a prosperous start to the New Year. As this is a time for refocusing goals and beginning new endeavors, Uplifting Athletes is also beginning some exciting new projects that we would like to share with you.
This January, we will kick-off our Rare Disease Champion campaign. Now in its 4th year, this special campaign allows us to recognize these true champions that have helped to define Uplifting Athletes and share their inspirational stories with the rest of the world. Also, the planning of our April 20th “Gridiron Gala” is well underway and it’s going to be amazing! There are too many details to share in just one blog post, so for now please visit our web site to learn more about what we have in store for this black-tie optional event!
Right now I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank the outstanding people who helped to make 2011 one of Uplifting Athlete’s best.
College Kick-Off Challenge
Uplifting Athletes has been busy since your last newsletter. First, our annual College Kick-off Challenge raised over $17,000 in September! This campaign was highlighted by tailgates hosted by Don Farinelli, Members 1st FCU, Harrisburg Senators Baseball and Pavone Advertising. AmeriChoice FCU, Lower Dauphin School District, Penn Credit and LeadingAge PA all organized a college football themed dress down day to raise money and awareness for rare diseases.
Our chapter leaders have been busy, too. The Penn State chapter held their annual VIP luncheon after their game against Iowa. They also participated in a “trashcan football” competition to engage fans outside of the stadium before their game against Nebraska to raise money for kidney cancer research. NC State created a “Penny Wars” contest on campus between their dining halls and a “Gate Take” during their game against Central Michigan to raise money for leukemia research. Al Netter was recognized for his participation in Uplifting Athletes at Northwestern by his selection to the prestigious “Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.” Last, but not least, Colgate‘s chapter of Uplifting Athletes presented a check during halftime of their game against Fordham for Ependymoma research in honor of Coach Vogt.
Team UA runners participated in the Chicago Marathon, Hershey Half and Tri-State Tough Mudder, raising a total of $4,850! This is a campaign that anyone can do in honor or memory of a loved one. Read their motivational stories here. Nick & Kara Fox and Drew & Christina Praster also included Uplifting Athletes in their big day by making a donation in lieu of traditional wedding favors.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make 2011 a great year! Now at the beginning of 2012, I encourage you to take this New Year and new start as an opportunity to connect with us in new ways. Find us on social media (Facebook & Twitter), talk to a friend about our organization and get personally involved in the fight against rare diseases. We have a long way to go, but there are a lot of opportunities on the horizon.
—Scott Shirley, Executive Director
The Executive Director of Uplifting Athlete’s, Scott Shirley, continues to share his “Stronger Every Day” story with one of the most pivotal turning points in his career path. Scott makes the tough decision to leave Clark Construction and lead Uplifting Athletes full time. He’s entitled this part of the story “A No Risk Decision.” Read the full post here and share your thoughts as to whether you agree!
We’re excited to continue sharing Scott Shirley’s blog series “Stronger Every Day” today with his latest post. This part of his inspiring story dives in to the real growth of Uplifting Athletes as it becomes a multi-chapter organization and spreads to schools outside of Penn State. Learn what school was first added to the Uplifting Athletes team here: Stronger Every Day: The Evolution of Uplifting Athletes.
The inspirational series “Stronger Every Day” continues with its fourth post. In “Our Aha Moment” we get to dive a little deeper into the true beginnings of Uplifting Athletes. Take a moment to read this post and subscribe to Scott’s blog to follow along with his entire series! It’s a great way to start off your holiday work week: Stronger Every Day: Our “Aha” Moment.
Greetings from Colgate!
Last week, Colgate football fell to the Georgetown Hoyas in a pivotal Patriot League match up. The offense did not have an answer for the movement and scheme of their defensive line and our defense was placed in tough situations the entire game. Quarterback Gavin McCarney made his first start since separating his shoulder against Monmouth and was able to play for two and a half quarters. As we fell behind early, our offense was forced to attempt more aggressive passing plays that Gavin’s arm was not ready to perform. With Gavin out freshman quarterback Ryan Smith entered the game as things got out of hand.
This week, No. 6/7 Lehigh comes to Hamilton, NY to play in snow covered Andy Kerr Stadium. We are excited to play against such great competition and I believe we have a plan in place that will put our team in a great position to pull the upset. We will attempt to stretch them horizontally with a mid zone run game and then take advantage of their weaker defensive back field. After last season’s difficult loss at Lehigh we are eager to take the field Saturday at noon.
Lehigh has “Hate the ‘gate” week, Colgate football is ready to show that the feelings are more than mutual.
I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to writing you next week after an amazing win over Lehigh.
All the best,
Kevin Morgan is a senior at Colgate University majoring in Political Science and plays center for the Colgate Raiders football team. He is currently the New Leadership Advisor for the Colgate chapter of Uplifting Athletes and is also a a two-term past president. He is also Delta Upsilon’s Philanthropy Chair and is a member of the Student Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC).