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Top Surprise College Sports Scholarship Celebrations


As a communications guy, I love it. Emotional. Real-time. Immensely shareable.

As a sports fan, I love it even more. You could argue it’s getting “played out,” but I’d counter that it never really can.

I’m speaking about the increasing trend in today’s social world of capturing “surprise scholarship awarding” by major college sports programs. It’s got all the ingredients needed to capture eyeballs and maybe even tug a tear or two down the cheek at times. And, yes, perhaps it’s a cheap way to promote a program. I forgive them all. The pros outweigh the cons. It’s one of the nice moments in college sports. The storyline is common but always compelling. A walk-on who’s surrounded by teammates who long ago punched their “ride” ticket and are on full scholarship. Players who might not be the headliners or even start a game. Some that might not even see the field, court or diamond. And, then, it happens…

In every case, they’ve worked hard to earn that privilege. It’s been required as they are often fighting for that scholarship opportunity against more gifted and highly-touted athletes. The moments they are recognized is tremendous — particularly when the schools turn the cameras on for more of us to see. The emotion from their teammates is almost as heartwarming as the emotion from the players themselves. So, I’m not going to complain about the proliferation of these videos. However, as they become a dime a dozen, it’s worth recognizing those who’ve excelled at the theater of it all. Creativity becomes even more paramount as the practice increases in frequency. These guys did it right.

It was difficult to narrow them down, but, without further adieu, here are my top six surprise college sports scholarship celebrations. I couldn’t bear cutting any just to get to five. Feel free to suggest other sterling examples in the comments section.

 “You’ve Been Served” 

Featuring UMASS football Coach Charley Molinari and players Daniel Maynes and Rob O’Connor

Coach Molinari brings in the cops for a serious summons.

“The Parent-Teacher Conference”
Featuring University of Houston football coach Tony Levine, placekicker Kyle Ballard…and his mom

Stellar, stellar delivery, Coach Levine. Mrs. Ballard, you can pick your jaw off the floor now. The look of sheer dread on Kyle’s face for the first few minutes is also priceless.

 “The Moment and the Phone Call Home”

Featuring Northwestern hoops coach Chris Collins and James Montgomery

This one…it may not be the most clever…but it just…damn.

“The Film Room” 

Featuring Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin and Marc Panu

The only thing I love more than watching and listening to coaches break down film? Break it all down and top it with a scholarship. Love the collective groan when he pancakes that guy. The slow clap at the end followed by the anchor down is a nice touch.

“The Numbers Game”

Western Michigan football coach P.J. Fleck featuring a bunch of Broncos.

I see what you did there…the ole okey doke, eh? P.S. I love Coach Fleck’s enthusiasm. I got to get on what that guy’s on.

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