Dec. 14, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
After the December 31 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., Mike Glennon will leave NC State with an impressive football resume highlighted by prolific passing performances.
He also will depart with a stellar academic record that includes two degrees – his undergrad degree in business management and a masters from MALS -- Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.
So just as the 6-6 senior stood tall in the pocket on many fall Saturdays, Glennon will stand tall in a cap and gown during a graduation ceremony Friday afternoon.
Overall he handled the books about as well as he threw the football, posting a 3.1 grade point average in his undergraduate major.
His GPA in the MALS masters study, which centered largely on leadership and sports management, was in the 3.8 range on a 4.0 scale.
The NCAA’s favorite phrase -- “student-athlete” -- fits him like his helmet.
To achieve the two degrees while meeting the time-consuming demands of a Division I football program required good time management as well as smarts. Glennon took 15-plus academic hours each semester, picked up additional courses in summer school, and never dropped out of a class.
“I always wanted to stay ahead; I wanted to make the most of the scholarship,” said Glennon, who was not required to attend study hall because of his solid grade point average.
His curriculum included subjects such as financial management of corporations and investments and portfolio management. He referred to one course like it was a blitzing linebacker, “extremely tough.”
“His was no easy path,’’ said Melissa Hart, a lecturer of finance. “He had great study habits. Did not miss assignments. He did everything expected of him on time or earlier.
“A lot of students were a bit in awe of him. He never took advantage of that. He was just a very nice, easy going open person (and) participated in class.”
Hart understood Glennon’s challenge, stressing that students blending academics and high-powered athletics is like having “two full time jobs.”
In the the 30-hour MALS program directed by Michael Garval, Glennon said he was challenged to sharpen his writing skills and learn how to relate to older classmates. He did both.
“That program allows you to take classes from multiple departments, allows a lot of diversity in class selection,’’ Glennon explained. “The leadership courses helped in football and (can help) in the future.”
Garval wrote in an e-mail that Glennon completed the MALS program in a year and a half, or about half the time it takes the average student.
“From the outset, I was impressed with Mike’s work ethic, with the seriousness, discipline, and maturity he brings to his academic work,” wrote Garval. “On a personal note, he’s pleasant, respectful, and unassuming -- not just a scholar athlete. Mike’s the proverbial gentleman and scholar.”
Long range, Glennon aspires to apply much of what he learned at State in the sports administration field. Short range, he hopes to spend the next several years in the NFL.
As State’s starting quarterback the last two seasons he showed pro scouts a strong, accurate arm that delivered 61 touchdown passes, plus savvy and poise.
Another auspicious display against Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl could further enhance his pro stock, although Glennon said pre-draft speculation shows him in a “pretty good position.”
Operating initially behind Russell Wilson -- now starring as an NFL rookie at Seattle -- Glennon didn’t become State’s No. 1 quarterback until his junior season.
While the QB-in-waiting, he didn’t whine. But it took Job-like patience to practice week after week and stand in the sideline shadows on Saturday.
“At times it was tough to see an opposing quarterback and know you were better,’’ said Glennon, who could have played earlier at some other schools. “But it worked out well for Russell and it worked out well for me.”
At last, it came to pass -- and pass. Glennon started in 2011 and lived up to former coach Tom O’Brien’s expectations, throwing for 3,054 yards and 31 touchdowns with a 62.5 completion percentage in his first season as the starter.
The sequel this season has been a good show, too: 3,648 passing yards and 30 touchdowns on a 57.7 touch. Currently, Glennon paces the ACC in passing yardage per game (304.0) and is the lone Wolfpack player ever to throw 30 or more TDs in two seasons.
Not that life was all TDs and triumphs. There was the painful loss to North Carolina this season, followed by a meltdown defeat to Virginia. And Glennon laments leaving without leading State to ACC championships, a major goal for him.
Yet the rewards have outnumbered the disappointments.
In addition to passing the football and his school work with flying colors, Glennon met his girlfriend, Jessica Wetherill, at State and assumed an active role in the team’s community projects.
He was especially glad to serve as vice president of the Pack’s Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit charity that raises money to support leukemia victims.
In preparation for his final college game on New Year’s Eve, Glennon wants to help the 7-5 Pack finish strong.
Of course, he wishes O’Brien could be on the sideline for his Wolfpack farewell.
“Coach O’Brien was a great coach, did a lot for me and a lot for the program,” said Glennon. “I think Coach Doeren will do a good job,’’ Glennon added. “He has a good group of kids here.”
For Glennon the clock is ticking. One more game to play, one more test for the dual degree athlete to pass on New Year’s Eve.
Then he should have a little time to reflect fondly on a Wolfpack experience that included several big wins, bowl trips, glowing individual performances, his two diplomas and meeting his girlfriend.
“I met great people, had great coaches, (have) many great memories,’’ a grateful Glennon said.
by A.J. Carr, GoPack.com