ACC Commissioner John Swofford Presents Commissioner's Cup to BC's Mark Herzlich
Dec. 4, 2009
Mark Herzlich is no stranger to the ACC Football Championship. He played in both the 2007 and 2008 games and it was just a year ago he was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. This year is different, because Herzlich is different. Just this past spring, the Boston College linebacker learned he had a rare and deadly form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. After an aggressive response, which included chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Herzlich is cancer free, with the final process involving the insertion of a rod in his left leg to provide stability.
Throughout the 2009 season, Herzlich made appearances around the ACC as schools made donations on his behalf. He is once again at the ACC Title Game, but this time as an ambassador of goodwill and hope. To date, more than $167,000 has been raised or donated to various cancer-related causes in Mark Herzlich's name.
In recognition of his tremendous courage, perseverance and inspiration, ACC Commissioner John Swofford will honor Mark Herzlich with the Commissioner's Cup. The cup is given at the Commissioner's discretion and this marks the first to be awarded to a student-athlete.
Open Letter to the ACC Community from the Herzlich Family
My son is Mark Herzlich, the Boston College linebacker who has spent the past 7 months battling cancer. I just wanted to send you a note saying how impressed my entire family has been by the comraderie and sportsmanship of the schools in the ACC. From opposing teams, to their fans and even to the officials organization - everyone has been supportive of Mark in his efforts. The number of groups that sacrificed personally to raise funds in Mark's honor to support cancer research has been awesome and humbling.
We are blessed and grateful that it appears that Mark has beaten this awful disease and his level of recuperation over the next 6 months will determine whether he can return to the playing field. His intent is to do so. However, before we start down that next path I wanted to relflect upon and appreciate how much the ACC has made this intial part of the journey bearable.
I truly think that this is something unique to the ACC. It is a conference with class. In reading about the backbiting and vitrolence in amoungst teams of other major conference, it's a pleasure to be associated with one whose members can both compete hammer and tong on the playing field but still appreciate, support and celebrate their opponents. Without quality opponents, there is no game. Too often that's forgotten in the world of sport, but not in the ACC.
Best wishes for a festive and fruitful holiday and bowl season.
Sandon M. Herzlich, Sr.