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Thread: Graduating important for Glover
Graduating important for Glover
By Bill Coats
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Jul. 01 2008
After 12 NFL seasons, six of which concluded with Pro Bowl trips, La'Roi Glover
could have festooned his home with all sorts of football mementos.
But he didn't.
Glover wanted just one thing on display. He'd picked out a space on the wall in
his office. He'd bought a frame. All he needed was the piece of paper to place
The piece of paper that declared La'Roi Glover a college graduate.
"I didn't feel complete," explained Glover, a Rams defensive tackle. "I really
wanted to finish and get my degree."
Glover was about two full semesters short of the credits needed for graduation
in 1996 when he left San Diego State, where he was a four-year starter. He was
a fifth-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders that spring, and soon he was
immersed in his professional career.
He had to clear some formidable hurdles before beginning to carve out his niche
in the league. After playing in just two games as a rookie, Glover was assigned
to the Barcelona entry in NFL Europe. Soon after he returned, the Raiders
released him, believing that at 6 feet 2 and about 275 pounds, he wasn't big
enough to play defensive tackle in the NFL.
New Orleans gave him a shot as a free agent, and he jumped on his second-chance
opportunity, adding 15 pounds of muscle and becoming a full-time starter in
1998. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection two years later, and though he
will turn 34 on Friday, remains effective. Glover's six sacks last season were
tops among the Rams' linemen and boosted his career total to 83.
During his five years with the Saints, Glover whittled away at his college
credits shortfall at the University of New Orleans. He insisted on being on
campus; no online classes for him. He recalled receiving some curious looks
from his fellow students.
"Some folks would recognize me or have an idea that I was an athlete," Glover
said. "I just had to block all that stuff out and focus on what I was there to
Although Glover has long been financially secure, graduating was critical to
him for several reasons. His brother had his degrees, as did his uncles. Plus,
he said, "Now that I have three children, it was important for me to show them
... the importance of going back and getting it."
Those desires pushed Glover during the times when the task seemed too daunting.
"It was tough," he said. "The biggest thing for me was the difference in
technology. Back then, computers were (used), but not as much as they are now.
I mean, every single class you're doing assignments on the computer and you
have to keep yourself up to date with the technology there.
"And then just getting back in the routine of turning in assignments and things
like that. Not doing that for a long time, you have to kind of reacquaint
yourself with it."
His progress slowed during four subsequent seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. But
in the past two offseasons, after the Rams signed him as a free agent in 2006,
Glover, a San Diego native, returned to San Diego State, determined to complete
"Some guys can give up because they can't knock it out all at once; they get
frustrated," said Sara Hickmann, the NFL's director of player assistance
services. "But he went to office hours, he created study groups. He was active
in his education."
Coincidentally, Hickmann had been Glover's freshman adviser 15 years ago at San
Diego, and she took special interest in the advancement of "one of my Aztecs."
"The last two years, I was working with him very closely," Hickmann said. "I
still knew people at San Diego State who were helpful in the process. After 12
years, the requirements change, so we worked together to coordinate and get
About six weeks ago, Glover received a bachelor's degree in public
administration. It hangs in his office, in clear view as he sits at his desk.
Now, Glover is considering graduate school and ultimately a second career in
sports broadcasting. This week, though, he's back in San Diego, where he will
speak at the NFL's annual rookie symposium. He'll talk about dedication,
perseverance and fulfilling dreams.
"It's unusual for a player of his caliber, who's had that amount of success in
the NFL, to really persist and be completely committed to going back and
finishing," Hickmann said. "We hope his story will inspire others."
Re: Graduating important for Glover
Glad to see him go back and get his degree. By the sound of things if he keeps up, he will more than be prepared after football.
Re: Graduating important for Glover
Good for him. Far too few stories of athletes that "get it". Not drug addictions, not alcoholism, not displays of armaments, not an entourage of wannabes, not frequent flyer miles at the local strip....excuse me, scrip club. None of that, but hard work and an education to show for it.
Congratulations, Mr. Glover.
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