Three years ago, Cory Weismann went through a life-changing experience. The Gettysburg College senior nearly died when he suffered a stroke following his freshman season. The stroke left Weismann unable to walk and speak at the time, but three years later he has made his way back onto the Gettysburg basketball team. Prior to Saturday night, he did not participate in any games. Going through practice and being on the official roster was plenty for Weismann after all he had been through. With the help of Washington coach Rob Nugent, that all changed last weekend.
Leading up to their Senior Day game against Washington, Gettysburg coach George Petrie decided to insert Weismann into the starting lineup so he could hear his name announced during pre-game introductions. The plan was for him to be removed from the game immediately following the tip-off.
“My goal all along was just to get back on the court,” Weismann said according to the Baltimore Sun. “Hearing my name announced on the loudspeaker is something I’ll never forget.”
Weismann was given an opportunity to do more than just hear his name. With Washington trailing by 14 and under a minute left in the game, Nugent sent one of his assistant coaches over to the Gettysburg bench with a plan to give Weismann a chance to score. Nugent told Petrie to put Weismann in and he would have one of his players foul him, that way he would go to the line with a chance to make his mark on the box score.
With the crowd on its feet and every person in the building praying Cory would sink at least one free throw, he missed the first. The second, however, was never in doubt.
“That was surprisingly the least pressure I ever felt in my basketball career,” Weismann said after the game. “I thought to myself: ‘After three years of hard work and all I’ve been through, there’s no way this ball’s not going in.”
It went in and the gym exploded as if everyone’s team had just won a national championship. The win happened to be Petrie’s 322nd, which was enough to make him the winningest coach in Gettysburg history. I’ll let you guess whether or not he kept the game ball.