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May 13, 2022 2 min read

What’s more impressive: winning a national championship in college football and being named to the College Football Hall of Fame or saving over 850 lives? Either is quite the accomplishment. Andy Talley has done both. 

When it comes to building a winner, Coach Talley knows a thing or two. The Philadelphia native spent 37 years as a college football coach, 32 of them at Villanova University. Coach Talley took the reins of 'Nova's non-existent program in 1984 and turned it into a powerhouse that captured the national championship in 2009. Talley won more than 250 games during his career and made a total of 12 appearances in the FCS playoffs. For these accomplishments, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020, his first year of eligibility.

While a football coach’s success can be measured in wins and losses, the measure of a man is not determined by who he beat in life, rather who he helped  along his journey. If there were a Hall of Fame for good humans in this world, Andy Talley would be a first ballot recipient.

For 14 years now, the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation (ATBMF) has been putting college students on the “Be The Match” registry through a program called “Get in the Game” (GITG). To date, over 151,000 people have been added to the registry. 856 of those registrants have gone on to donate stem cells or bone marrow to save a life. A shining example of the program’s success rate is that 1 in every 135 GITG registrants goes on to transplant, compared to the “Be The Match” average of 1 in 430.

The ATBMF has gone from the little engine that could, to the freight train that can’t be stopped. Of the 856 registrants who have gone on to donate stem cells or bone marrow, 144 of them have done so since the beginning of 2021. Given that donors typically don't donate the first year they're on the registry, the increase in donors during the past two years reflects the snowball effect from many years of hard work.

Of the 151,000 people the ATBMF has added to the registry so far, nearly 40,000 of them have been added since January 1st of this year. Also in 2022, an unprecedented 167 colleges and universities will host GITG drives, 64 of which are first time participants. Word is out, this is a worthy endeavor for any university athletic program looking to get involved and make a difference.

Cheers to Coach Talley. You went from shaping lives to saving them. One can only aspire to make such an indelible impact on others over a lifetime.

A limited number of Andy Talley 16x20 Villanova Wildcats Football photos are available on SportsVaultShop.com. These are the first photos Coach Talley has signed with the Hall of Fame inscription included.