Irv Smith, Jr., '16 had a very special person with him when he leapt for a touchdown catch Sunday against the Chargers.
Following the score, the rookie tight end danced in the white paint behind the end zone, showing off a pair of custom-designed cleats.
On the outside panel of one shoe, Coach Mark Bonis was painted in bold, black lettering against a yellow-gold background. The other featured a detailed portrait of Bonis, Smith’s high school coach.
“He was with me for sure [on the touchdown],” Smith told Vikings.com.
Irv Smith, Jr ‘16 dedicated his cleats to @Coach_Bonis who is recovering from emergency surgery. This was his message to the Crusaders’ football coach. Thank you, @swervinirvin_ #TTCF pic.twitter.com/G8Y6tlW4OC
— Brother Martin Alumni (@BrMartinAlum) December 17, 2019
Bonis, the head football coach at Brother Martin High School (New Orleans), was rushed to the hospital on Dec. 4 for an emergency coronary artery bypass.
According to a local news report, doctors say “the condition is hard to survive”; most who suffer the rupture that Bonis did don’t make it to the hospital, and those that do often do not survive surgery.
But against all odds, Bonis returned home on Dec. 13 to recover with his family. A Facebook post showed the smiling coach with his wife and three children; included in the photo’s caption were the hashtags #BonisStrong and #ChristmasMiracle.
Smith posted a tweet earlier this month in support of Bonis, who initially had planned on attending the Vikings-Chargers game in Los Angeles.