Joe Dineen Jr., nominated for Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Giving back to the Lawrence community is something that has been instilled in Kansas redshirt-junior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., throughout his days as a member of the Jayhawk football team. Roughly a year ago, however, Dineen became passionate about one cause in particular—childhood cancer. Due to his devotion to raising awareness and funds to fight the disease, Dineen was nominated for the Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team which was announced Monday.
“Childhood cancer became a battle our whole team was fighting about a year ago,” said Dineen. “With Cole Hayden (son of Shanda Hayden—Assistant Athletics Director for Academic and Career Counseling), being diagnosed last summer, it is something we were all very aware of. Once I got involved with helping support Cole and his fight, I learned how few resources were actually dedicated towards finding a cure for childhood cancer and it was something I wanted to make sure to dedicate some of my time to.”
Dineen has done just that, and continues to do so. Not only did he visit Hayden at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City several times in 2016, but he also shaved his head along with a group of teammates in support of Hayden. He has participated in the Hilltop Hustle 5K—in which all proceeds were donated to Children’s Mercy Hospital in honor of Hayden—and he also took part in a local baseball game that raised funds for childhood cancer research.
“Our hearts were broken when we lost Cole (Dec. 10, 2016),” said Dineen. “I was inspired by his fight and wanted to keep fighting in his name. He was a special person to our entire program and I just want to keep honoring him by playing hard on Saturdays and also working hard to help find a cure.”
Dineen is orchestrating the first-ever “Cole’s Christmas in July,” which will take place Saturday, July 15. Dineen some of his teammates will be donating toys to Children’s Mercy Hospital in honor of Hayden. In the first year of the event the toys donated are toys that were gifted to Hayden during his hospital stays. Dineen would like the event to become an annual outing for the KU football team, with the future gifts coming from a toy drive the football team will host.
“These kids are in such an intense battle, the least we can do is try to brighten their days with some toys,” said Dineen. “Anything we can do to make them smile and find enjoyment during their fight is worthwhile. Cole fought his cancer until the very end and we thought this would be a good way to pay it forward in his honor.”
In addition to all of his work with childhood cancer awareness, Dineen has also made time to volunteer with several other activities, including Sack Lunch with Just Food, Salvation Army holiday bell ringing, Special Olympic football clinic and reading at Lawrence elementary schools.
As seriously as Dineen takes assisting other people, he is also a force to be reckoned with from his middle linebacker position. Prior to his season-shortening injury in the third game of 2016, Dineen had accumulated 16 tackles and 3.0 stops behind the line-of-scrimmage. When fully healthy as a sophomore in 2015, Dineen wrapped up 86 tackles – good for second on the team. He also logged 10 or more tackles in four games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers, Dineen tallied a team-season-best 16 stops.
Since 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has brought together a select group of college football players from across the country to honor their dedication to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others. While players are often recognized for their accomplishments and achievements on game day, these student-athletes have made significant contributions to the greater good of society, inspiring future generations of young athletes and the larger college football community.
Once the final team members are announced in September, college football fans are encouraged to visit the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® website on ESPN.com, featuring profiles and images of the players, for the opportunity to vote for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® Captain.
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved with a charitable organization or service group while maintaining a strong academic standing.
Dineen and his KU football squad will begin the 2017 season on Saturday, September 2 with a home game against Southeast Missouri State. The Jayhawks will also host nonconference opponent Central Michigan (Sept. 9/Family Weekend, Band Day).
Five Big 12 rivals will visit Lawrence, including West Virginia (Sept. 23/Jayhawks for a Cure), Texas Tech (Oct. 7/Homecoming, K-Club Weekend), Kansas State (Oct. 28/Sunflower Showdown), Baylor (Nov. 4/Salute to Service) and Oklahoma (Nov. 18/Senior Day, Youth Football Day).
Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule are now on sale for as low as $110. Pick 3 Flex Pack ticket packages are also available for the 2017 season. As part of the Pick 3 Flex Pack offer fans have the chance to pick any three home games on the 2017 schedule for one low price. Select a Tier 1 ticket for any three home games for $180 or a Tier 2 ticket to any three home games for just $150.
For additional information regarding Kansas football tickets contact the Kansas Sales Team by calling 800-34-HAWKS or in-person at the Allen Fieldhouse ticket office. Tickets can also be purchased via KUTickets.com.
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