When Canyon football coach Joe Maiale got a phone call from his representative at Riddell on Tuesday morning, he was flabbergasted.
Maiale received an email from the sports equipment company in July about its “Smarter Football” initiative, which explained that Riddell was going to offer 10 different football programs across the nation a $10,000 grant to purchase new equipment.
Maialie submitted a proposal and two months later, he got the call that Canyon was one of the 10 programs out of the 800 plus that applied to receive the $10,000 grant.
“I remember sitting at my desk here with my brother and we were talking about our need to upgrade our equipment and how fundraisers are going and the email was just there, and we said we should apply for this,” Maiale recalled. “We wrote the proposal at the beginning of the summer, we commenced with dead period, then practice and ordered equipment and all that. Never knew we were finalists and I just got the call this morning from Riddell, it was so cool, just unbelievable.”
With the grant came a personal message from former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, who thanked the Canyon staff for providing their student-athletes with smarter and safer training methods.
Maiale shared the video with his team at practice on Tuesday, and even though many of them had already seen it on social media, it still spread chills around the room.
“We showed it to them but in this day an age so many of them had already seen it, it spread like wildfire,” Maiale said about Manning’s video. “They loved it, we all had the chills, it’s Peyton Manning, it’s so cool. It’s just been a great experience all day, Peyton Manning giving us a personal shout out was really awesome.”
The Cowboys will be able to use the money on new helmets, shoulder pads, blocking equipment and other football equipment.
Maiale is meeting with the Riddell representative on Wednesday and the team will have access to the funds right away to use for this season.
“Just replenishing older equipment, helmets have gotten more expensive, you fund raise and purchase what you can, but this obviously is a huge boost and allows us to replace some of that before we lose it,” Maiale said. “The kids are excited, they take pride in their equipment and it’s just awesome.”