If a collegiate athlete is lucky, they will end up on the famous program Sportscenter at some point in their career. Slippery Rock University’s Cornelius (Milly) Raye has not only done that two weeks into his senior year, he has done it both weeks of his young season.
“It’s been a while since we had something like that on Sportscenter,” Slippery Rock’s Athletic Director Paul Lueken said. “but never back to back.”
Having a play on Sportscenter is something that every athlete dreams of, but few achieve. With SRU being a Division II school, the difficulty to appear on national television is magnified.
“ESPN already has footage for all the Division one schools, For us to get it there, we have to supply the video to ESPN,” Director of Athletic Communication Jon Holtz said. “Something more behind-the-scenes that people don’t see is that I have to directly share it with the ESPN top 10 desk, and there are no guarantees. We have been very fortunate two weeks in a row to get on there.”
While some athletes may be discouraged in the fact that there is another layer of difficulty to get on the silver screen competing at a lower level, Raye is the number one person to always take things positively.
“I appreciate being here. If I wasn’t here, who knows? Maybe I wouldn’t have ever made it on SC,” Raye said. “I feel like its a great accomplishment.”
For almost any athlete, being put on the premier sports TV program in the country would be enough to satisfy them, but not Raye.
“It makes me even more hungry. When you accomplish a goal, you want to go ahead and reach the next goal and reach the next level. Me getting on SC one time, made me realize I could do it. Now I’m going to hold myself to that standard. Every week when I go out, I’m going to try to get on SC again. Not for the fans, just for myself since I can do it, and I can keep doing it.”
Raye is known throughout the campus as a Green and White loving, hard-working student athlete, and many people echoed what they know best about Milly.
“What he stands for at SRU, being on sportscenter two weeks in a row, it’s just amazing.” Head football coach Shawn Lutz said.
“That’s great for him, he’s worked hard all four years. Its his senior year here now, and to get this type of attention, it’s outstanding.” Lueken said.
If anybody knows Milly, it’s easy to see that he loves SRU; literally, he has a Slippery Rock green “S” on his shoulder. Raye was quick to give credit for his love of SRU to the community around him.
“This football team, the brotherhood we got makes you love SRU. The sense of having a family away from home. This is my family essentially,” Raye said. “It makes me feel like I should have a tattoo on my shoulder, because it is a part of me. Ever since I was younger, They told me that even when you leave the Green and White, you’re always going to be with the Green and White. This is a big part of my life, and [a tattoo] is a great way to remember it.”
Slippery Rock has long been known as “America’s favorite small college football team”, dating back to 1959, when the Michigan University PA announcer started saying Slippery Rock scores alongside Division I scores, due the The Rock’s peculiar name.
“I don’t think any DII school can say they have what we have, with how nationally known the Rock really is.” Lutz said, whose sentiment was echoed by Lueken.
“We still have that love affair with a lot of folks because of our name, we certainly thank our friends from Ann Arbor. It’s cool for our student-athletes to get some good attention because of it.”
The combination of the Rock’s historic name, Raye’s ESPN presence, and the whiteout game this Saturday couldn’t have created a more perfect storm for family and friends weekend.
“It’s going to be a great weekend and a great event for everybody, the only thing that could make it better is if we were playing IUP,” Lueken said, chuckling. “The timing is perfect, the vibe on campus right now is really positive, not just for athletics either.”
With a lot of first-time visitors coming to SRU’s campus this weekend, Raye had some final, poignant words to share with everybody.
“If you don’t know about the Rock– you’ll know about it when you get here, and you won’t forget it.”