Coach Bianco surprised the Ullrich family, who came to an Ole Miss baseball game April 27, with the endowment for sports nutrition in Henry's honor.
For three years, 9-year-old Henry Ullrich, an Illinois native, has been an Ole Miss athletics super fan.
Unlike a lot of children who are born into Ole Miss fandom, it was the Rebel student-athletes – specifically, Ole Miss baseball players – who captured Henry’s attention three years ago, nine months after he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a deadly illness.
One year later, he was hanging out in the dugout before a game with the entire Ole Miss baseball team, and that was just the beginning. From there, Ole Miss student-athletes across every sport developed a special, lasting relationship with the boy everyone calls Super Henry.
It’s fitting, then, that a new endowment established in his name goes directly to help the student-athletes he loves and who love him in return. The endowed funds will be held permanently, with the annual income directed to supply sports nutrition at fueling stations throughout the Athletics department.
“Super Henry epitomizes what it means to be a Rebel. When others told him he should take it easy, he has lived life to the fullest,” said Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork. “When they said he may be limited, he said he would try anyway. Henry’s spirit and positive attitude are unmatched, and we are thrilled to launch the Super Henry Endowment Fund. His legacy as an Ole Miss fan will live on forever.”
Henry and his family traveled to Oxford the weekend of April 27 to watch his beloved Ole Miss take on sixth-ranked Texas A&M. Henry and his family took the field before Saturday’s game for Henry to throw out the opening pitch. While on the field, Bjork announced the fund via a video message played on the digital scoreboard.
Super Henry proved to be the Rebels’ good luck charm, and they went on to sweep the weekend series.
Henry’s parents, Jeffrey and Lauren Ullrich, said they were moved by the gesture to honor Henry in such a public way.
“We are so grateful to have been whole-heartedly embraced by the Ole Miss community,” said Lauren Ullrich. “It is hard to put into words how much your kindness, support and love have meant to us. Henry had a blast throwing out the first pitch at Swayze on Saturday, but what he loved most of all was that he got to do it at Swayze, surrounded by his Ole Miss family.”
Jeffrey Ullrich said it’s entirely appropriate that the endowment in Henry’s name goes to keep Ole Miss student-athletes healthy.
“The establishment of the endowment is truly moving,” Jeffrey Ullrich said. “The Ole Miss community is incredible. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community that has been so supportive of Henry to contribute to the wellbeing of the Ole Miss student-athletes, who are all so special to Henry.”