Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Why Furman? A Reflection from a (Hopefully) Graduating Student Athlete


We all chose to be a Paladin for a reason.

It is easy to rag on Furman. “The DH sucks. No one goes to our games. When I say I go here half the people say, ‘What’s a Furman?’”

You have heard it. I have heard it. I agree that Furman is not perfect. We have our fair share of problems. When I look back on my college decision, however, I would not have it any other way.

When I graduated high school, I knew I would be lucky to walk-on for cross country and track. My top choices academically other than Furman were Auburn and Wofford. Knowing that literally no one here would rather have gone to Wofford, I will talk about Auburn.

As a Southeastern Conference (SEC) school, Auburn is everything we’re not. As a guy that spent a good amount of weekends in Athens, I can tell you. We don’t have an SEC college town. We don’t have SEC parties. We don’t have SEC football. These are some of Furman’s biggest weaknesses, and I’ve heard complaints regarding them time and time again.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

While the above complaints are justified, Furman also has a million things that no SEC school can compete with. For one, my slow, untalented tail would never have gotten the time of day from an SEC school. The same goes for many of us.

I have watched nearly every athlete here play, and I can say the following with confidence: 90 percent of you never heard moot from an SEC school. A lot of you are walk-ons like me, and the ones with scholarships chose Furman for good reasons. Now think about the opportunities you have received here. That’s the benefit of the Furman experience.

For me, I walked-on to a cross country team that placed 13th in the nation. I’ve had the opportunity to compete at six D1 Conference Championships. Both are opportunities I would not have received anywhere else. But that’s not the half of it.

Every time I text my coach, I get a response immediately. If I want a meeting? “Sure, does this afternoon work for you?” I’m willing to bet every one of you have had similar experiences to mine. Unless you’re Kerryon Johnson or Roquan Smith, what SEC school does that?

What SEC school has a weights coach that knows everyone’s names? I don’t know about your teams, but Trey Tuten knows every single cross country runner’s name, from seniors to freshmen, and we’re there for no more than two hours a week.

And yeah, we don’t get special treatment at Furman for being athletes. But if you take a step back, we get plenty of special treatment simply for being Furman students. I’m willing to bet every professor you have right now knows your name. They may not know how you did at your game on Saturday, but if you ask them for help in class, they’ll put down an hour of their day to make sure you know what’s going on.

No SEC school can rival the individual support and close relationships Furman offers. And while it is easy to complain that your games are not nationally televised or that Furman is not a household name across the country, very few of us would have gotten the same opportunities somewhere else that we have had here.

So yes. We don’t have crazy parties or big time football, but there are plenty of reasons to choose Furman. Take some time to remember them.

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