SOU graduate Daniel Breaux (‘14) says the school’s character-driven athletics philosophy stays with him every day, and he applies those values in his career as a police officer in Berkeley, California, as well as in his personal life.
Breaux came to SOU for football and its well-regarded criminal justice program.
“I wanted a school and a team that reflected my own values,” he said. “SOU and the athletic department did just that. When I visited the campus and met the athletic department staff and coaches, it was love at first sight.”
Breaux says he was particularly impressed with Athletic Director Matt Sayre and the late Craig Howard, who was then SOU’s head football coach, and their shared vision for the football program.
“Coach Howard said from the beginning that he was there to develop men who would become better husbands, fathers, employees and citizens of the world,” Breaux said. “Along the way, he’d help us become better players and win championships.
“I knew I was in the right place. It’s not just about winning games, it’s about academics, our school and our community.”
With encouragement from the coaching staff, Breaux dove into college life, serving in student government as an athletics senator, working with the planning committee for the new recreation center, helping to develop the Raider Weekend of Service and even volunteering at the local humane society.
“In student government, I learned whole new aspects of the university,” he said. “I learned about the work of servant leadership, and I developed an entirely new view about my role as a student and a contributor to the community.”
Breaux did all of this while winning accolades as a defensive end on the 2014 National Championship football team and managing to graduate with honors two terms early.
Howard was an integral part of his college life, Breaux says.
“I remember whenever the football team went to an event, Coach Howard would tell us to leave the room better than we found it,” he said. “I know sometimes he literally meant for us to clean up our garbage before we left, but I also took it as something to be applied to everyday life.
“Now I do the same with police work. I want to leave my community better and have a positive effect on the world around me.”
Reposted from the Spring 2016 issue of The Raider, SOU’s Alumni Association magazine