Excitement is building in the Tigers Den as the University of Memphis Tigers prepares to host number 25 UCLA at the Liberty Bowl Saturday. The game will be broadcasted nationally on Local 24 and during the game, the team will be getting a new coach.
17-year-old Wyatt Deel will serve as the University of Memphis football team’s honorary coach.
Deel, a 17-year-old patient from Drexel, Missouri, is undergoing treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“I love sports,” Deel told Local 24.
He’s currently on a break from playing sports after he was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas, otherwise known as DIPG.
“It that was rough I found out I had a tumor,” Deel said. “They weren’t sure if I could play sports ever again. So I was sad.”
Deel who is a senior ran track and played both football and basketball. Despite his lack of game time, he isn’t letting his diagnosis get the best of him.
“You have to stay positive and have faith in God,” he said. “Just good vibes.”
The 17-year-old will bring that same energy to Saturday’s game.
“They gave me a rundown,” he said, “but I’ll most likely wing it.”
Deel will lead the team on the Tiger Walk onto the field at 8:30 a.m. and will also join the team in pre-game warm-ups and introductions.