BOZEMAN — In addition to the Brawl of the Wild, the Montana State Department of Athletics continued its busy schedule with a double ceremonial and championship banner ceremony for the men’s and women’s basketball teams Friday night .
But before raising the alarm, Bobcat men’s trainer Danny Sprinkle held another ceremony to recognize another champion.
By now, you’ve probably come across the story of Troy Ross. At age 3, he was diagnosed with a rare immune disease that nearly claimed his life. Doctors told his family he might not survive, but now, five years later, not only is he still alive, he’s thriving.
His illness was recently declared in remission. And his #TroyStrong fight has inspired countless 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 dad, about the sign they planned to use for College GameDay. Sprinkle wanted to make Troy’s visit even more special.
“I saw his photos and I saw the hashtag #TroyStrong. I saw something on Twitter and thought he had a championship spirit and a championship mindset,” said Sprinkle: “And I thought with us unveiling our championship banner tonight, I wanted him to be a part of it.”
So Sprinkle organized a surprise. After inviting Troy and his family to the crew shoot, he took Troy back to his office so they could talk recruiting.
After sharing how Troy’s story 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 never really liked basketball,” he said. “Now I kinda like it.”
Even five years later, the Ross family is inspiring with the support they have received and the number of hearts Troy’s story has touched.
“I’m just blown away by the support from both sides. Montana State took the lead,” Wes said. “I just couldn’t be more proud of them here.”