Hawks, From Campus to the Front Office, Share Chiefs Fever

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Rock E. Hawk posing in front of a sign

There’s something in the air in Kansas City.

It seems like everyone is dressed in red and yellow, and there’s a palpable sense of anticipation as this Sunday’s Super Bowl featuring the hometown Chiefs grows near. And the Rockhurst campus and alumni community are not immune to that kind of excitement.

Late last week, Rockhurst University President the Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J., doubled down on a friendly challenge from the Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., president of fellow Jesuit institution the University of San Francisco, setting up an epic showdown of barbecue and Roasterie coffee against organic vegetables and wine.

There’s a building sense of excitement among students, too, with red temporarily replacing Rockhurst blue and the St. Ignatius Loyola statue, donning a No. 15 jersey, becoming a popular photo opp.

For freshman Derrick Evers, the connection is personal — he, along with his parents, are all lifelong fans.

“I’m actually named after Derrick Thomas,” he said, referring to the Chiefs’ late linebacker.

As far as Sunday’s game is concerned, Evers said he’s trying to do his part.

“I wear my Patrick Mahomes Adidas shoes every Sunday,” he said. “I also keep a Patrick Mahomes Funko figure on my desk. They haven’t lost since I got it.”

Another freshman, Beckett Rasmussen, said he’s looking forward to the excitement in the city ramping up even more.

“The town is going to be crazy this weekend,” he said. “For many, this is the first time we've been in this situation.”

As for soaking up the atmosphere, Justin Johnson, ’06, is living the dream. He’s one of two Rockhurst alumni who work for the team, along with Michael Ragsdale, ’07, the team’s director of financial planning and analysis. The sustained success has meant extra challenges, Johnson said, but has been totally worth it. Not only has he worked for 12 years for the franchise he grew up cheering for — he’s now the IT manager – but come game day, he’ll be right there.

“Our owner has graciously offered to take all our staff to Miami so I will be attending the game in person,” he said. “I don’t intend to have a voice come Monday, and if we win that will be just fine with me.”