By Kay Hawes, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Like much of the college basketball world this month, Davenport University (Mich.) began its men's and women's basketball season with a "Midnight Madness" event packed with music, skits and a bit of basketball practice. It turned into the beginning of so much more for men's assistant basketball coach Craig Heatherly and head dance coach Linaya Hass.
Unbeknownst to Hass, Heatherly developed an entire plan, inviting family members and persuading Midnight Madness planners to play along. He then concocted a plot to have Hass participate in a dance-off against the Panther's mascot, "Pounce." He had swapped places offstage with the usual mascot, putting himself in Pounce's outfit. He faked an injury during the dance, going down on one knee. When Hass came over to check on Pounce, Heatherly whipped off the Panther head and proposed marriage.
A stunned Hass, who had been dating Heatherly for more than a year, said "I do."
"When he took off the head and I saw it was him I thought, 'OK, alright, the joke's on me,'" Hass said. "Then when he took the microphone, and I saw the (ring) box, I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is about to happen.'"
Fortunately for Heatherly, Hass said yes, the crowd roared, and dance team members and basketball players swarmed the floor.
Heatherly and Hass have enjoyed more than their 15 minutes of fame, as ESPN, CBS Sports and several other news outlets have reported their story and featured the video proposal.
Heatherly and Hass are planning an August wedding, though it's likely to be more traditional than the proposal. They also have a great story to tell-complete with video clips-to their own little "Pounce" some day.
To see the Davenport University video of the proposal, click here: