Raising His Game
Never Mind the Weather?
If You Can Make it There
Peg Riley Wants a New Drug
A Capitol Guy
What They've Learned
Linebacker L.A. Love tackles learning and life with all he's got
|—Matt Vautour ’96
LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT L.A. Love ’05, his motto goes a little further. “They say only the strong survive, but the elite conquer,” Love says. “I don’t want to just be a survivor in life.”
At 23, Love has conquered quite a bit. While the NCAA is trying to ensure most athletes graduate with a degree, Love, a linebacker, will depart with two in December.
Even as he balanced the demands of being a Division I football player, Love completed his economics degree in three years and went to work immediately on his master’s in UMass Amherst’s sport management program. In addition, Love tutored and mentored students at Amherst High School.
“I’m very proud. It’s a long time coming, especially for my family,” Love says. “I’m the first one to enroll in an institution of higher learning, the first one to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and I will be the first one to get a master’s. I’m looking forward to being the first one to have a law degree, and someday, a doctorate.”
Love has come a long way from working at McDonald’s as a teenager in his hometown of Bryan, Texas. Neither of his parents graduated high school, which has made them especially proud of his accomplishments. “My mom is very proud,” he says. “She can’t stop talking about it.”
Love’s academic dedication is deep-rooted. “My first dream was to be the first African-American president. But I always knew I wanted to be an athlete. I had to put it all together,” he says.
Love is holding out hope that a strong senior season could lead to some professional opportunities on the field. After a solid freshman performance, a knee injury forced him to sit out his entire second season. When he returned, he split time between the positions of linebacker and defensive end.
UMass football’s head coach, Don Brown, who oversees the team’s defense, said Love’s strong play during spring practice could increase his role in the fall. “He was probably one of the most improved guys this spring,” Brown said. “We feel really good about his progress.”
But even if his playing career doesn’t extend past this December, Love is thankful for the doors the game opened for him.
“Football is my life, my love, and my passion. It has been great to me. It provided me with an education. It provided me with a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “If I get my shot, I get my shot. If not, I can’t complain. Football has been great to me.”
He might try to stay in the game even if it doesn’t involve wearing shoulder pads. “I would love to become a general manager,” Love says. “A lot of those guys, if you look at their backgrounds, they have law backgrounds.”
Love is excited about his future, but he’ll miss his alma mater. “It’s going to be tough leaving UMass,” says Love. He is looking at Boston College and Boston University for law school, which would allow him to visit UMass Amherst on Saturdays to watch his old team play. “This is a great university. Every practice, I’m savoring for a little bit longer. I’m trying to enjoy every day.”
UMass Football Action in Your Living Room
See L.A. Love, and the rest of the UMass football team, in action this fall. If you can’t make a game, three will be televised by CN8 (Comcast) in the New England and mid-Atlantic regions. UMass’s home games against defending national champion James Madison, on Oct. 15, and versus national quarterfinalist New Hampshire, on Oct. 29, will be aired live with noon kickoffs for both games. The UMass at Delaware game, Nov. 5, has a 1 p.m. kickoff.
[top of page]
Class Clown: more images
Wordly Wisdom: larger images
The Law According to Bonnie
The Law According to Bonnie:more images
A Very Grey Matter
A Very Grey Matter: larger image
Wye's World: more images
What's Eating American Tweens?
What's Eating American Tweens?: more images
Swirl, Sniff, Sip
Swirl, Sniff, Sip: more images
Shear Genious: more images
Looking for the Break
Looking for the Break: more images
Big Love:more images
A Promise To Keep
A Promise To Keep: larger image