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Hometown star returns to encourage GHC athletes

Hometown star returns to encourage GHC athletes


Rome – Sept. 11, 2014


Ken Irvin played at the highest level of football for 11 years but he did not forget his humble beginnings or those who helped him along the way. As a youth, Irvin attended summer football camps in Rome where he met David Mathis, GHC assistant director of athletics. Through the years, their relationship has continued and Irvin agreed to speak to GHC athletes on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at Mathis’ request.


His most prominent message focused on maintaining character and integrity.


“Each and every one of us is always one step away from doing something wrong. It’s how you handle yourself every day that is important. Your character and what kind of person you are matters. Everything you do matters,” Irvin said.


He stressed the merit of education and reminded the students that only a small percentage of players make it to the professional level.


“You have the opportunity to gain something now that can never be taken away from you and that is education. You have got to make the grades, keep yourself clean and stay out of trouble. Let me tell you, it works. Those things will guide you through the process of becoming a successful young man or woman.”


Irvin, who was told repeatedly he was too small and too slow to play in the NFL, emphasized determination and never giving up on a dream.  


“I know what its like to dream. I grew up with nothing; I grew up with bugs in the house and holes in the floor. I had no father in my life. You know what that did to me? It created an atmosphere around me that pushed me forward.


“It didn’t matter what anybody said to me or how many times they said I couldn’t do it. I never stop believing I could and I never stopped working for that dream.”


Phillip Gaffney, GHC director of athletics, uses sports to reinforce the message of personal responsibility and success.


“We thought it would be great for our guys to see Ken as a mentor and a role model. He is an African American man from this area who did great, so we wanted him to come talk our guys about the importance of getting the grades and being responsible,” Gaffney said. 

Page last updated: September 11, 2014