Jahmal Brown, Assistant Football Coach (Defensive Backs), Saginaw Valley State University
Master of Education (2014), Bowling Green State University,
Area of Specialization: Sports Administration
Bachelor of Science (2010), Exercise Science, Bowling Green State University
What were some challenges in being a student/athlete?
The biggest challenge is time management.
What was it like being a student-athlete?
Being a student-athlete at the collegiate level was great but it was also a huge time commitment. You had to be really dedicated in order to be successful. The experience of traveling all across the country and playing in different stadiums was like no other. More than anything, I think the relationships that I built with my teammates were the absolute best part about being a college athlete.
What was a typical day like for you?
The typical day differed depending on whether you were in season or not. During the season Monday was typically our day off from all football related activities. It was standard procedure to enroll in 15 credit hours per semester to stay on track for graduation and allow some flexibility when it came to adding or dropping a course. I usually had three classes per day. Due to the afternoon practices 2:00-6:00p.m. was blocked off on our schedules. It was also mandatory that we get a minimum of two workouts in per week during the season, so that could be at 6:00a.m., 7:15a.m., 8:30a.m., or before meetings at 1:00p.m. I would usually work out in the 7:15 group; go to class from 9:30a.m. – 12:20p.m., grab something to eat for lunch then head to position meetings. After practice I would get dinner and try to make it to study table for at least an hour since the student athlete services office closed at 8:00p.m. After first semester my sophomore year I was no longer required to complete 8 hours of study table per week because my G.P.A. was close to a 3.0. Somewhere in there I had to find time to get work done, study for quizzes/exams, and have some sort of social life. It sounds like a lot as I reflect on it but at the time it was standard procedure and I didn’t really think much of it.
How did you keep education a top priority?
My mom did a good job of stressing the importance of education growing up. I went to a college prep high school so academics were something that was important to me prior to college. Being a college athlete and committing so much time to athletics makes it easy to sort of forget about that your main purpose in college is to get a degree. I was always one that thought about my future after the game of football. I always thought even if I make it to play professionally the average career isn’t very long. I used to think even if I have a five year career (which isconsidered pretty lengthy in the NFL) I would still be in my 20’s when I am done, what would I do with my life after if I had no degree? So, I guess you can say having some sort of vision of the future and concept of reality kept me grounded and focused on achieving my degree so that I could see success beyond the football field in my later years.
If you could give any advice to current and/or future first-generation college students/athletes, what would it be?
Don’t take these experiences for granted. Cherish each moment you have with your coaches and teammates because there will be no other time in your life where you can openly trust people as much as you do your teammates on the football field. Also, education is the most important thing. Don’t let your sport define you, you define yourself. If someone talks about me in the future I don’t want it to be that’s Jahmal Brown the football player and that’s it, I want it to be more about what I did with my life outside of football and the impact I left on the lives of those I’ve encountered.