Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Marketing major Freddy Cortez is a stand-out kicker for the Kent State Golden Flashes football team — the career leader in points (275) and in field goals made (51). He is also the recipient of the James S. Crisp Endowed Athletic Scholarship. Without it he never would have been able to attend college.

The second of six children raised by a single mother in Ft. Meade, Florida, everyone in the family had to work hard every day just to get by. College wasn't an option. "It's hard to explain in words how much my scholarship has meant to me," says Cortez. "It's given me the opportunity to get an education, the privilege of playing ball, and at the end of the day I don't have to worry about my mom getting a bill in the mail. And when I get out of college I can earn a living and not have to worry about any debt that I owe."

Head football coach Darrell Hazell has made an impact on Cortez's attitude and his life. "He's taught me to be an overachiever. You have days when you want to settle for average, but to get better you have to do better," says Cortez. "It's been the same thing with my scholarship. I want it and so I work hard and take advantage of the opportunities it brings."

A coach and a mentor, Hazell has also taught Freddy the value of hard work, resilience and self-confidence. Says Cortez, "Coach has taught us that the man you become comes from discipline and dedication. Football only lasts so long. I want a 9 to 5 job – a career. That's why I'm so glad about my scholarship. When football is done, I'm prepared for my future."