Michael Sam Jr. '15: A Triple-Impact Competitor

Michael Sam Jr. '15: A Triple-Impact Competitor

MJ Sam

Michael Sam Jr. ’15, a Rice University student majoring in Sport Management and a former Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship winner, was chosen as the keynote speaker at the PCA Houston’s Triple-Impact Competitor Awards Ceremony in October 2014. After his speech was made, more than $12,500 was donated to PCA.

PCA is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

Sam played for Rice's football team until suffering a career-ending injury, though athletics has been part of his entire life. Throughout Sam's early athletic career at West Briar Middle School and Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, he looked up to athletes such as Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Warren Sapp. He felt that one day he could be like them on the athletic playing field. Sam's particular perspective of athletics separated him from the pack and made him stand out in the eyes of coaches.

“It was how I saw the game,” Sam explained. “I didn’t see the game as wins and losses. I didn’t see the game as just something to make myself better, but more as a way to make my teammates better, and something to use to make the entire game better. Playing the game, for me, was becoming not only a better player, but also a better person: a better person who could use his platform to create change. PCA played a crucial role in establishing this perspective in me.”

Because of his hard work and determination, Sam has been awarded the opportunity to study abroad in the spring of 2015 and coach American football at Koc University, a top-ranked college in Istanbul, Turkey. He plans to share the lessons and experiences he had not only as a young athlete involved with PCA, but also as an intern with the organization, with the players on the team.

Upon graduation, Sam will attend Baylor University’s Masters of Divinity Sport Chaplain Program on full scholarship. Baylor is the only school in the country offering this program, so it is very selective. Long-term, Sam hopes to become a sports chaplain for either a collegiate or professional sports organization.

James Farrimond, a senior from San Antonio, TX, is double majoring in Sport Management and Economics and minoring in Business.