FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CRESTVIEW HILLS, KY –David A. Armstrong, J.D., president of Thomas More College, secretly suited up and took the field to motivate the football team during their first full pad practice Sunday morning.
President Armstrong donned Thomas More blue practice pants, cleats, full pads, and a helmet with a dark visor to hide his identity.
"I’m excited to be back in pads again," President Armstrong said before taking the field. "I know there’s not many more years I can do something like this, so I figured, I better get it done now."
Masquerading as offensive lineman #61, he waited on the sidelines for his turn in the Oklahoma Drill. The Oklahoma Drill is football practice technique used to test players in confined, full-contact situations. The technique was developed by Oklahoma Sooners coach Bud Wilkinson. The hitting exercise is a rite of passage that heralds the start of the football season. When
called out by coaches, three players, a defender, a blocker and a ball carrier, take their positions surrounded by teammates.
On Sunday morning, the ball carrier crouched in the backfield as President Armstrong, aka blocker #61, squatted in the turf. Opposite him, defensive lineman, senior Cam Hansel, did the same, not knowing who he was about to hit. A split second later, like two runaway trains, the pair met and went to the ground and the drill ended. President Armstrong threw off his helmet and revealed his identity as shocked players burst into cheers.
"I’m certainly not in hitting shape, I’ll say that!" Armstrong said after the drill was over. "I think we were able to surprise them, feels pretty good."
While certainly entertaining, President Armstrong’s surprise walk-on wasn’t just fun and games. A former football coach and player himself, his goal was to motivate the team and reinforce his belief in the value of American football.
"To be honest, I came out here to do this to show football, American football, is the greatest sport ever invented. It’s about the education of mind, body and spirit," he said. "A positive attitude, hard work, discipline. You know, that’s what this country needs now. There’s no colors on this team, other than blue and white."
The Thomas More Saints home opener is Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. against Franklin University.
Photos and video attached.
Thomas More College is a values-based liberal arts institution that is proud to be one of 9 Catholic Diocesan colleges in the nation. Located in Crestview Hills, KY, just 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, it was originally founded in 1921 by the Benedictine Sisters as Villa Madonna College. The college offers personalized attention and strong academic programs that allow students to have a distinctive and transformative experience. Thomas More College was recognized in 2017 by PayScale.com as the number one college for return on investment in Kentucky.