From NFL player to sociologist

Occasionally, I highlight unusual paths people take to become sociologists. Here is another example: an 11 year veteran of the NFL who became a sociologist. Here are the broad details of Ken Ruettgers’ path:

After graduating from USC, Ken was drafted in the first-round of the 1985 NFL Draft (7th pick) by Green Bay where he remained throughout his professional career. Ken was the Green Bay Packers’ 1989 offensive MVP. He began the 1996 season on the Physically Unable to Perform List. He was activated after four games, but injuries had taken their toll and he could not finish the season.

Ruettgers has a B.A. in Business Administration from USC’s Marshall School of Business, and an MBA from California State University, Bakersfield. He recently received a Ph.D in sociology from Oxford Graduate School in Dayton, Tennessee in 2007.More recently he has begun teaching Sociology classes part time at Central Oregon Community College.[3] He has also began coaching football at a local high school in Sisters, Oregon.

Here Ruettgers is briefly quoted talking about the recent scandal at Penn State:

Former NFL player and COCC Sociology Professor Ken Ruettgers says the Penn State case and the one at Syracuse are opening people’s eyes. “I do think it’s been somewhat of a watershed moment. Up until this, those with the title of coach weren’t questioned. This has tarnished that image and brought that into questions and maybe that’s a good thing. Don’t give free pass just because you’re a good thing because. While its sad, I think it’s a good thing it’s been exposed.”

I’m sure this was an interesting transition. Do students sit up and pay a little more attention in intro to sociology classes when they learn their professor is a former NFL player? Are there skills from his football days that easily translate into the academic realm?

By the way, the Oxford Graduate School has an unusual Ph.D. program that is titled ” Sociological Integration of Faith and Society.”

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