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Cardinal football program is feature story in Naperville Sun

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During the Cardinal football team’s final week of regular season play, the Naperville Sun featured a story about North Central College’s football program and its priorities on faith, family and character both on and off the field.

The Nov. 9 article, titled “Faith and family part of football life at NCC,” included interviews by Nick Hicks, senior wide receiver; Gary Ireland, director of student development and assistant dean; Jeff Thorne, assistant head football coach and offensive coordinator; and Brad Spencer, assistant football coach, director of football recruiting and coordinator of the football academic program.

Click here to read the story. Following are some sample quotes taken from the interviews by reporter Brian Miller in the article:

Jeff Thorne: “Being a champion is more than winning a football game. Being a champion is how you present yourself in life, how you carry yourself and the integrity that you have. Those are the things we talk about on a weekly basis here, things other than football. It’s been really refreshing as a coach to have that opportunity with players and not just always have our meetings be about X’s and O’s.”

Nick Hicks ’11: “We have a thing called the Cardinal Manual. It’s a bunch of adjectives that describe great characteristics of people—love, humility, perseverance. There’s a quote in there that says, ‘A setback is nothing more than a setup for a comeback.’ That was a great quote that I’ve lived by my entire life. Every time you get knocked down, you have to get up, you have to keep fighting. That’s exactly what these coaches preach every day.”

Gary Ireland: “From the very beginning of starting to turn around the program, faith has been a very important aspect. It’s in the team’s philosophy statement, their list of attributes they want the players to work. They want players to work on their faith in whatever way they chose.”

Brad Spencer: “If anything, parents are particularly positive about the whole faith and family thing, especially the family thing. Regardless of what religion you are, if you have a son you want them go somewhere there’s a family atmosphere and North Central definitely has that. Whenever we talk with recruits about FCA or the trips with Habitat for Humanity, there’s always recruits that say ‘Oh, I’ve done that.’ It’s always been a very positive thing.”

Photo: Head Football Coach John Thorne surrounded by team members.