On Saturday, Drake University head coach Chris Creighton inked a commitment from 7-year-old Jack Conlon.
Whether Conlon proves to be the top recruit of the 2024 class (give or take a year) remains to be seen, but Creighton had different plans when he had Conlon sign the commitment letter.
You see, back in 2011, Jack Conlon was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and after surgery and eight weeks in Boston (a long way from his home in Clarion, IA) undergoing treatment and radiation, the little guy is still trying to regain his strength. While out in Boston he was united with the Drake team via a Boston based organization called Team IMPACT, which pairs kids going through health issues with a team that allows them to become an official member of their team for the duration of their treatment, and in some cases well beyond.
According to coach Creighton, when Jack signed that letter of commitment he became a member of the team forever.
“Every single one of the guys who is a member of our football team signed a commitment letter to be a member of our football team and not everyone that wants to be a Drake Bulldog can be a Drake Bulldog. We are choosing you to be a part of our football family here at Drake. This is not just for right now, or this season, this is forever. When you’re a Drake Bulldog football player, you’re a Bulldog forever. We respect you for being a tough and courageous guy and we want you to be part of our family.” Creighton told Jack and his family according to the official release.
After the signing, the team captains showed Jack to his own permanent locker which was equipped with everything that the players are issued, including a helmet and jersey. Creighton also made sure that Jack was aware that, as an official member of the team, he is now welcome to join them at practice, games, and other team activities whenever he wants. Very cool move by the coaching staff and Drake University community.
See a gallery of the special event below.
Add this story to the growing list of coaches (and organizations) that understand the impact that they can make on a young child's life. Our hats are off to coach Creighton, his staff, and the Drake University team for this heartwarming gesture that Jack and the Conlon family will never forget.