On Thursday, September 18, 2008, Nike came to Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School for the “Five days till Friday” event. The Nike representatives came to the school campus each day leading up to the big rival game against Upper Saint Clair. The Nike team, wonderful and personable people, spent time getting to know the coaches, players and even some of the parents.
It was a successful week – perfect weather, new friendships and a winning game. Goodbyes were said to Nike; however, the Central Catholic family would soon come to find out just how wonderful and personable the Nike representatives were.
On October 24, 2008, the Central Catholic Vikings were scheduled to face Fox Chapel. Prior to the game the team was told that the starting running back, Kyle Wilson, would not be playing or even in attendance due to being ill. At the conclusion of the game in the locker room, the team was updated.
Kyle was not doing well.
The next day the entire Junior Varsity and Varsity teams made their way to Children’s Hospital of UPMC to visit their teammate. The team was well received by the hospital and the Wilson family. Every player, all 95 of them, was invited to Kyle’s room to spend time with him. After, the team gathered in the hospital cafeteria where heads were down and tears were flowing. DJ Myers, a team captain, led everyone in a prayer for Kyle. The hospital staff said they never seen anything like the support that Central Catholic brought to their teammate in all their years of employment.
Parents watched over the boys, trying to think of what they could do to help. The best kind of help that can be offered to this situation is prayers. The parents decided it was time to start making phone calls and get those prayers going. One of the calls made, was to Nike. The Nike representative remembered Kyle right away and said she wanted to do more than prayers. A few days after Kyle’s death, the football team received a package from Nike with patches with the number 23, Kyle’s football number, embroidered on them. The players, coaches and parents were very grateful that Nike would go this extra mile in giving their support.
Several weeks later, Viking Nation received a call from Nike offering condolences and wanting to do more than the patches that were sent. Nike received insights from players, coaches and family about Kyle’s life. They were able to take those details and incorporate them into the same shoe that Kyle wore all season, the Vapor Jet. The shoes received the same care and attention that is given to Nike’s top sports marketing athletes. They were embossed with his jersey number, nickname (KDubb) and initials. The eulogy read at the October 31, 2008 football game was printed on the sock liner. There were only two pairs made and they were presented to Kyle’s father, Derrick Wilson, and Coach Terry Totten on February 10th, 2009 by Nike at the school.