USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg on the biggest risers, fallers and surprises from Week 3 in the top 25 of the Amway Coaches Poll.
USA TODAY Sports
The gifts made in honor of a recent graduate just keep rolling in. More than 100 through Tuesday afternoon, with the total topping $5,000.
“Thank you for sending us Cole Tracy,” reads the typical comment accompanying these donations to Assumption College.
“It’s hysterical,” said Tim Stanton, Assumption’s vice president for institutional advancement. “It’s great. It’s terrific.”
And yes, he knows it’s more than a tad bit crazy, LSU fans giving money to a NCAA Division II school in Massachusetts because it’s where their new kicker came from. All of which suggests:
“They’re pretty rabid fans,” Stanton said. “And generous, too.”
And even more motivated to give, it seems, after Tracy’s 42-yard field goal as time expired to beat Auburn last Saturday. But even before LSU played Auburn, Assumption received seven gifts totaling more than $500.
“Pretty funny,” Tracy said Saturday night.
A couple of the initial gifts were for $54, apparently because of Tracy’s 54-yard field goal against Miami in the season opener. And yes, as you’d expect, a few of the gifts that have come in after Tracy’s 42-yard field goal to beat Auburn were for $42. A few were for $42.36 — 42 for the field goal, 36 for Tracy’s LSU jersey number.
Stanton says at Tracy’s request, the gifts made in Tracy’s name will go to support Assumption’s football program. And while we’re talking about names, during an interview Saturday night with USA TODAY Sports, Stanton joked about naming a goalpost for Tracy. Except he apparently wasn’t joking.
“We don’t know where this is gonna end,” Stanton said. “If this continues and gets to a higher amount, there will probably be some kind of naming opportunity. If it really reached some significant levels — this might sound ludicrous, but like $1 million — we’d name the field after him.”
By comparison, Tracy’s journey to this moment is only slightly preposterous. He graduated last spring with a marketing degree. When he decided to transfer to kick at a higher level of football in hopes of drawing more attention from NFL scouts, there wasn’t so much resistance from Assumption as encouragement.
“Everybody was all for it, absolutely,” Stanton says. “He had done his thing at our level. Everybody was so ecstatic to hear he was getting some interest from big-time schools. … He’s a tremendous kid. We all love him. We’re so happy for him to be able to perform on the national stage.”
He performed very well on the smaller stage, named the Fred Mitchell Award winner last season as the best kicker at the NCAA’s FCS, Division II or III levels. Last season against Stonehill College, Tracy drilled a 53-yard field goal (then his career long) along with three more. He also kicked eight extra points. A year earlier against St. Anselm, he tied a NCAA record with six field goals.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
“So we knew he had the talent and the leg,” Stanton says. “But there was nothing to the extent of what happened Saturday night.”
How could there have been? Consider that game against Stonehill, when Tracy hit the 53-yarder — and also from 49, 48 and 27 yards — the attendance was announced at 2,975, which was an exceptionally large crowd at Multi-Sport Stadium, which has bleachers only on the home sidelines. Attendance Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium was 86,787. Cue this line from Tracy that could have been written for a sappy sports movie:
“The uprights are the exact same that they were in Worcester,” he said. “That they were in ‘JerryWorld’ (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where LSU played Miami), they were in (LSU’s) Tiger Stadium and now that they are in Auburn.”
True enough, except that about 85,000 of those fans Saturday were roaring for Tracy to miss — and then went silent as his kick split the uprights. Tracy was carried off the field by his new teammates — “a feeling you can’t really describe,” he said moments later.
Stanton says they were celebrating back in Worcester, Mass., too — and not just because of the potential for donations.
“Probably, a lot more people from Assumption are watching LSU intently now than our own games,” he says, adding: “It’s college sports, right? These are the kinds of storylines that can only happen in college sports.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ George Schroeder on Twitter @GeorgeSchroeder.