Kyle Flood’S Friday appearance at the New Jersey Special Olympics at The College of New Jersey is much more than a meet and greet or photo opportunity for the first-year Rutgers head coach.
Growing up with a mentally handicapped sister, the Special Olympics have been a part of the Flood family for the majority of his life.
Flood has memories of the Special Olympics dating back to when he was 11 years old and cannot wait to make another one this weekend.
“I’ve been supporting it since I was a kid and my family has been supporting it since I was a kid,” Flood said. “Up until now, just doing what [Greg Schiano] did before me and I’m honored to have the role that I have in it.”
Flood’s sister Kimberly, now living in Long Island, N.Y., makes the Special Olympics personally important to this year’s honorary head coach.
“The Special Olympics, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of since I was a kid,” Flood said. “I have a mentally handicapped sister, who is 37 years old and she’s been involved in it her whole life. … Myself and my family, we’ve been to a lot of these events over the years and I think when you go there and you see these athletes compete, it changes your life.”
Flood does not yet know his complete role for Friday’s opening ceremonies, but the first-year Rutgers head coach said he hopes to be as involved as possible with the program.
“This is much more than just showing up and waving and saying hello,” Flood said. “I’m really looking forward to being out there with the athletes and I know we have more players signed up for the trip than we’ve ever had. I know the team is excited about it. What I tried to express to the team when I talked about this, if you’ve never done it, I want you to do it one time. Because if you do it one time, I really believe it will change your life, change your perspective and it will inspire you.”