From heart transplant to the NFL | rowan today
OK, so Sam Prince doesn’t play in the NFL, but he’s gotten closer to it than many of America’s biggest prospects.
Born with a serious heart defect, Prince’s chances of living five hours, let alone five years, were grim, but thanks to a combination of good medical care, good luck and the undying love of his family, he has survived and, at eight years old had a successful heart transplant.
Today, Prince is a freshman in Rowan’s popular Sports Communication & Media (Sports CaM) program at Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts. He arrived at the University after a stopover in Las Vegas in April where the huge (HUGE!) New York Giants fan made his Make-A-Wish dream come true by announcing his team’s first draft pick.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell personally introduced Prince to the stage.
“For the New York Giants pick, I’m joined by Sam Prince, a longtime New York Giants fan and Make A Wish kid,” Goodell told a sea of cheering fans. “Tonight, his wish to announce the Giants’ No. 1 pick is coming true.”
With that, Prince announced University of Oregon linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux.
“Welcome to New York, man!” Prince exclaimed as he hugged and danced with Thibodeaux on stage.
Moments earlier, when Goodell called Prince to announce the pick, the aspiring sportscaster also promoted the program that saved his life.
“I wear my green wristband every day to represent organ donation,” he said, handing the commissioner one of his, which Goodell put on directly.
In his family, Prince told Goodell onstage, Giants fandom goes back generations.
“My grandfather had subscriptions for 50 years,” he told the commissioner.
“Really?!” Goodell exclaimed.
Budding broadcaster meets Superbowl MVP Eli Manning
A talented, ambitious, sometimes gregarious young man, Prince wasn’t done showing the NFL some love. Right offstage, with the cameras still rolling, he hugged Goodell and threw a punch, interacting with the league’s best boss as if he’d known him his whole life. (ESPN made a video of Prince’s Make A Wish experience, and since April it has had more than 16,000 views.)
Oddly enough, Prince’s appearance on the Vegas stage wasn’t the biggest thrill of his Make A Wish experience. His wish delayed by the pandemic, Prince learned how it would unfold through a ruse.
Ostensibly joining his grandfather to pick up his season tickets last spring, the two were surprised by Eli Manning, the team’s legendary former quarterback (and Prince’s long-time favorite), who tipped them off. conducted on a tour of Giants Stadium, introducing them to co-owner John Mara and general manager Joe Schoen.
Schoen asked on camera if Prince had any advice for his upcoming draft picks, but didn’t expect Prince’s candid response.
“Don’t ruin it,” Prince said, punching head coach Brian Daboll, a smiling Manning sitting behind them, just a moment before Schoen told Prince his wish was granted and he was surrendering. in Vegas to announce the pick.
“Recruited” to Rowan
Prince thinks his first experience in the NFL without a fan surely won’t be his last and came to Rowan specifically to learn the skills he’ll need to become a broadcaster.
An aspiring games analyst, he produces and broadcasts a weekly sports podcast and came to Rowan after hearing about his Sports CaM program from Neil Hartman, a former sportscaster from Philadelphia who is senior director of the Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact of the University.
Hartman, who met Prince at a summer broadcast camp, said he talked about Rowan’s Sports CaM program for two years, which led Prince to travel south to North Caldwell to check it out .
“To me, it was obvious that Sam is a driven young man with a deep passion for the sport and a love for broadcasting,” Hartman said. “He visited, spoke with our students and decided this was the place for him.”
Moving to campus, Prince began writing for the student newspaper The Whit and trained at 89.7 WGLS-FM, Rowan’s longtime radio station.
“To succeed and thrive in any business, you need to be passionate about what you do,” Hartman said. “There’s no doubt that Sam wakes up every day thinking about the sport and what he can do to be a better broadcaster.”
WGLS station manager Derek Jones said if Prince was serious about broadcasting he was in the right place – for education and live.
At WGLS, Jones said, students “have the opportunity to chart their own path in media. From learning to produce and create content, becoming an on-air host, or becoming a sportscaster, Rowan Radio offers opportunities to explore a variety of career paths.
Although he didn’t spend much time watching the ESPN video that captured his Make A Wish experience, Prince said he was grateful to the network, the NFL and, in particular, the Giants organization.
“My two favorite parts were surprised by Eli and general manager Joe Schoen telling me my wish had been granted,” he said.
As for playfully advising Schoen not to mess up his draft picks, Prince smiled, as he did in the video, and said, “It’s just who I am.”