John Sparrow, a 1995 graduate, was recognized more for his defensive prowess as a football player at Quincy Notre Dame, but he certainly enjoyed plenty of collegiate and professional success on offense.
Sparrow’s six interceptions as a defensive back during his senior year helped the QND football team finish with a 10-1 record, a No. 1 ranking in the Class 2A state poll and the school’s first playoff victory since 1974. Sparrow, a first-team Herald-Whig All-Area defensive performer, also caught 26 passes that season.
At Iowa Wesleyan College, Sparrow ranks seventh all-time for career receiving yards with 1,702, and he ranks fifth all-time for career receptions with 148. He scored 15 career touchdowns. He caught 62 passes for 789 yards in 1997 and 68 passes in 1998. He was a second-team member of the Mid-States Football Association team and an all-Midwest League receiver in 1997 and 1998. He was an NAIA preseason All-American and an NAIA honorable mention All-American in 1998.
Sparrow played two seasons in the Indoor Professional Football League, playing for the Lincoln (Neb.) Lightning in 1999 and the Billings (Mont.) Thunderbolts in 2000.
Sparrow lives in Burlington, Iowa. He and his wife Jamiee have three children — Brooklyn, Tuscany and Langston. He is a teacher in the VIBE program in the Burlington Community School District.
"Thanks to my parents for their sacrifices, hard work and support over the years. Thank you for being great examples of what is possible through hard work, for taking the time to help coach teams I played on, for coming home from work, being tired and taking the time to work with me or get me to a practice or a game. Thank you for all the countless hours and miles traveled to support me. I want to thank my brother for never taking it easy on me when we played games growing up. You helped me learn to push through losing and to keep working to get better. Thank you to my sisters and the rest of my family for always coming out in droves to support the teams.
Next, thanks to Coach Connell and the rest of the coaching staff for allowing me to join the football team during my junior year. Thank you for your guidance, hard work and for sharing your expertise. You helped me become a better player and person. Thanks to all my teammates, classmates, coaches and teachers. You all made my experience as a Raider a memorable one. I wouldn’t have been as successful in my ventures without these experiences and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my wife. You have always entertained and supported me with my post-Raider career. You drove through tornadoes, snowstorms and endured 30-hour bus rides to be there for me. You are the best."
-John Sparrow '95