BOZEMAN — In addition to the Brawl of the Wild, the Montana State athletics department continued their busy schedule with a doubleheader and championship banner ceremony for the men’s and women’s basketball teams on Friday night.
But before tip off, Bobcat men’s coach Danny Sprinkle organized another ceremony to recognize a different champion.
By now, you’ve likely come across the story of Troy Ross. At 3 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare immune disease that nearly took his life. Doctors told his family he might not survive, but now five years later he’s not only still alive, but thriving.
His ilness was recently declared in remission. And his #TroyStrong fight has inspired countless and blood drives and awareness campaigns.
Montana State men’s basketball coach Danny Sprinkle caught wind of Troy’s story. He saw a tweet from his Wes Ross, Troy’s father, about the sign they’d planned to use for College GameDay. Sprinkle wanted to make Troy’s visit extra special.
“I’ve seen his pictures and I’ve seen the hashtag #TroyStrong. I saw something on Twitter and I thought he’s got a championship spirit and a championship mindset,” Sprinkle said. "And I thought with us unveiling our championship banner tonight, I wanted him to be a part of that.”
So Sprinkle arranged a surprise. After inviting Troy and his family to the team shoot around, he took Troy back to his office so they could talk about recruitment.
After explaining how Troy’s story had inspired his team, coach Sprinkle offered him a ceremonial scholarship to become a member of the Montana State men’s basketball team.
Troy was speechless, but put his signature on the dotted line.
“I don’t know I’ve never really liked basketball,” he said. "Now I like it a little bit."
Even five years later, it’s inspiring to the Ross family how much support they’ve received and how many hearts Troy’s story has touched.
“I’m just blown away by the support on both sides. Montana State has stepped up to the plate,” Wes said. "I just couldn’t be more proud of them here."