WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth…
How many football players do you know who can recite the prologue to The Canterbury Tales faster than he can sack a quarterback? The only one we know is Sam Acho.
To say that Sam Acho is extraordinary is somehow still an understatement. He truly embodies the ‘What Starts Here’ and ‘Where Leadership Is Earned’ mottos and missions of both The University of Texas at Austin and the McCombs School of Business on and off the football field.
After his senior season in 2010, Acho was voted team MVP. He also won the William V. Campbell Trophy, given annually to college football’s top scholar-athlete, as well as the Wuerffel Trophy, college football’s premier award for outstanding community service, and was a finalist for the Lott Trophy. During that senior year, the Sporting News named Acho one of the 20 smartest athletes in sports, a list that included two other college players and 17 professionals from the four major American sports.
Sam began his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, where he quickly excelled. As a rookie in 2011, appeared in all 16 games (10 starts) and totaled 37 tackles, seven sacks, five tackles for loss, a team-high four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and nine special teams tackles. His seven sacks represented the second-highest total in franchise history for a rookie, behind only Simeon Rice (12.5, 1996). He is currently in his second season with the Chicago Bears.
All the football accomplishments are impressive, but as his father, Dr. Sonny Acho has stated: “It’s nice that my boys are really good at football. But they understand there is more to the world than sports. They are global ambassadors.” And their work as global ambassadors started before they were both at UT. At the age of 15, Sam went on his first mission to Nigeria, where his mother and father were born. He continued to take mission trips while excelling on the field and in the classroom.
His parents founded the Living Hope Ministeries, a Christian, non-profit organization to provide quality healthcare. Operation Hope brings much needed doctors and nurses to rural villages in Nigeria, where access to healthcare services had been very limited. Sam and his brother Emmanuel (“Manny”), who also played for the Texas Longhorns, continue to make medical missions to Nigeria every summer.
“It really just takes making a decision to find a way to help,” Acho said. “If it’s not in Africa, maybe it’s in your local community. Maybe it’s in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s taking in a foster child or adopting a child from the United States. Maybe it is in Nigeria. Maybe it’s going on a mission trip or supporting an organization helping one of the communities in need. There’s so much that can be done.”
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.