Meyer, Black present game ball to Ian Lockwood

By Adam Silverstein
January 3, 2011

Before former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer began his final press conference and after senior safety Ahmad Black received the 2011 Outback Bowl MVP award, Meyer made a special point to present a game ball to Ian Lockwood.

Look at Florida’s player roster or ledger of support staff and Lockwood’s name will not be found, but he played an important role in bringing the team together with a common goal in mind: send Meyer and the seniors out on a positive note and give Ian something to smile about during a trying time in his life.

A patient at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL, Lockwood is receiving treatments for brain cancer and recently underwent his second procedure. He was a successful high school football player who had to stop playing on Oct. 8 due to an aggressive brain cancer that doctors are trying to thwart and prevent from spreading further.

Meyer had this to say upon introducing Lockwood:

“One of my dear friends, Ian Lockwood, about a year and a half ago I met Ian. The young man, his love and passion for football is second-to-none,” he said. “We became very good friends. He had football taken away from him. He’s been with our team a bunch; we spent a lot of time together. I asked these guys to do whatever we possibly could do to get a game ball to Ian Lockwood. And that meant you had to go four quarters as hard as you possibly can and find a way to bring that ball and brighten someone’s day.”

The ball Lockwood received? None other than the one Black picked off and returned 80 yards for a touchdown that sealed the game.

“I met Ian around the same time coach did,” Black said, “so he means just as much to me as he do to coach. It was our goal and objective to win the game for Ian. So thank you, I appreciate you.”

Stepping up to the microphone, Lockwood was visibly nervous but seemed to know exactly what to say, just like he did to the Gators before they took the field.

“This means a lot to me. Coming into Shands for treatments, [they were] always there from the beginning,” he said. “Football is definitely life to me. It is good to always have an organization there for you to support you whenever you need it. My team back at home, I played six games my senior season and came up short after another brain surgery. Finished the other six out with these guys. So it was pretty good. Thanks Ahmad. Thanks Coach.”

Turning around to give both men hugs, Lockwood’s embrace with Meyer lasted just a bit longer and ended with a whispered “I love you” from the future Hall of Fame head coach to the former high school football player.

6 Comments

  1. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Nice story – this is the kind of impact on the community that I wish Gator sports will always leave.

  2. cline says:

    Total Class. Job well done Urbs.

  3. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    This is just a great story and it really gives you additional insight as to the type of man Urban is and what a positive influence he is on the lives of those he coaches….prayers and best wishes to Ian!!!

  4. Bob says:

    I know that Muschamp will do great at Florida, but I just have to say I’m really gonna miss Urban Meyer. And it’s because of gestures like these. GO GATORS

  5. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    Of course the media mentions nothing about stories like this when it pertains to the Gators. It’s all the bad stuff.

  6. Kathy says:

    Great story! I’m an FSU alum, but i have nothing but respect for Urban Meyer and the Gator team after seeing their classy response to Ian’s inspiration. I just have to clarify that Ian has never been nervous about anything in his life- including cancer! Just a few short weeks after this video, Ian entered hospice care and died. Sadly, what may look like nervousness on tape is the result of cancer’s ravages.

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