Bruce Irvin gets his college degree, compares it to winning the Super Bowl

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Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin won a Super Bowl ring when he played for the Seahawks, but another accomplishment this offseason meant just as much to him.

Irvin got his degree from West Virginia, and he sees that as just as much of an achievement as his Super Bowl ring.

As a troubled teenager, Irvin dropped out of high school. But a desire to give his football career a chance convinced him to get his GED, then attend two community colleges before ending up at West Virginia.

“The odds were stacked up against me to get my bachelor’s degree. It was a surreal moment,” he told the Associated Press. “I kind of put it up there with the Super Bowl, neck and neck. Super Bowl probably would have been better if we’d won two in a row. It was a great moment, not only for me but for my son and my family. I’m glad I got to experience it.”

The NFL paid Irvin’s tuition as part of a program that encourages players to pursue their degrees during the offseason. Irvin, who turned pro after two seasons at West Virginia, said he wanted his son to see the importance of education.

“When kids come up to him, they can say that his dad was a good football player and he can stop them and say he was a good football player but he also got his associate’s degree, got his bachelor’s degree,” Irvin said. “He wasn’t only a football player. He put education up there right along with his job. It was bigger than me. It was for my son and his kids and generations after me.”

59 responses to “Bruce Irvin gets his college degree, compares it to winning the Super Bowl

  1. Congratulations to him, that’s no small feat. Nice to read these types of stories.

  2. Every year 106 people play in a super bowl while 2 million people got bachelors degrees and another million got associate degrees but yeah, that’s the same.
    I put two through college so I get it but isn’t it darned near past time that people got their sense of proportion in order. Octogenarians get degrees as a pastime. No disrespect but one is a teeny bit harder to achieve.

  3. I never played in the NFL or won a Super Bowl but, like Irvin, I got my degree well into adulthood. It was one of the top two or three moments of my life when I received my diploma, so I know just how he feels. Congratulations to Irvin and his family. It’s a wonderful accomplishment.

  4. I didn’t go to college. Do I regret it? Sometimes. I missed out on social experiences while working long hours six days a week, as well as further education. There are jobs that are unattainable to me because I made that choice. However, I’ve spent 14 years in a factory. I make equal income as my wife, who has a bachelor’s and a master’s. My advice to youth is simple: work hard. Show up, do what you’ve agreed to do, go home. Work ethic is the #1 thing I see lacking today. If we get ten people hired, one might stick. We recently had three walk out at first break without a word to anyone. It was their first day. Education is important, and I will encourage my daughters to seek it. However, work ethic can’t be taught. You either have the drive to succeed in your chosen field or you don’t. A degree doesn’t change that. It opens doors, but it doesn’t get you to go through them.

    There’s my two cents for the day. Good for Bruce. That’s a good example to set: work hard, and keep working hard.

  5. It’s good to see a guy finish what he started. But I do wonder what his and many other player’s major is. Too many of these guys have a degree in some near-bogus field that doesn’t prepare them for life without football.

  6. Good on him. Way to be a role model for his kid.

    I bet the part about the NFL’s degree program will be lost or ignored by those who say rhr NFL doesn’t care about its players. Maybe they don’t care that much, but they at least do a little, as evident by this program.

  7. Good for you Bruce, the feeling of accomplishing goals never gets old. One thing I found odd though… the NFL pays tuition for players? Um, pretty sure they can afford it on their own… why doesn’t the NFL give scholarships to young students who are not making millions of dollars instead? (maybe they do… i’m not looking it up). In any event, Congrats.

  8. Have to respect that…he could have just been happy to be financially set for the rest of his life, instead he put in the work to finish his education…

  9. See, THIS is the kinda stuff we love seeing. Seemingly nowadays not enough NFL players are continuing their education and giving themselves a fall back option. Good for Bruce.

  10. – The NFL paid Irvin’s tuition as part of a program that encourages players to pursue their degrees during the offseason.

    – “When kids come up to him, they can say that his dad was a good football player and he can stop them and say he was a good football player but he also got his associate’s degree, got his bachelor’s degree,” Irvin said. “He wasn’t only a football player. He put education up there right along with his job. It was bigger than me. It was for my son and his kids and generations after me.”

    Hat’s off to Mr. Irvin on two accounts! What a quote from the recent graduate!

    Made my eyes get all glassy.

  11. Good for him. I am happy to see players go back and finish their degrees. I served 25 years in the Army. After I retired I went to college and got my Master’s Degree. I was the first in my family to ever go to college. In high school I was a bad student. The Military taught me the discipline I needed to turn my life around. It can be done if people dedicate themselves to self improvement.

  12. And the sad reality is ….. There will be peon Raider Haters who will post crap about this positive story. Well done Bruce. Way to set a positive life example

  13. Awesome to see! Especially since he really did beat the odds. Not too many people drop out of high school and then later on get their bachelors – regardless of the major. (Which people seem to be ripping on a bit) You are never too old to grow and he is setting a great example for his son.

  14. This story is nice and all, but can we get the days without an arrest counter back?

  15. Many colleges allow former athletes in any sport to return to get their degree without paying. Great for him and I hope all these coaches who promise these kids the world and flame out realize an education is going to make them more money than taking easy classes and majoring in something that doesn’t prepare them for life.

    This is what it takes to get to the next level-too many are convinced by the coaches during the recruitment that they are the next big thing.

    NCAA senior players drafted by an NFL team: About one in 50, or 2.0 percent. — High school senior players eventually drafted by an NFL team: About nine in 10,000, or 0.09 percent.

    Notice it says drafted not make the team.

  16. dabears2485 says:
    June 28, 2018 at 7:20 am
    I didn’t go to college. Do I regret it? Sometimes.

    Hey brother I have 3 degrees – a BA and two Masters. And frankly I ain’t no better than anyone else out there. We all miss experiences through our lives – they’re just different experiences. Good on you for working, bringing the bread home for your family, and making the world work. I’d say – while loving Irvin’s accomplishment – that you’ve done just as much.

  17. Good work Bruce!!! I especially like the part where he acknowledges the importance of the impact on his Son. Feels good to comment on a positive topic that nearly every commenter agrees on… …

  18. Good for him but getting a 4 year degree is a piece of cake. I went to like 2 classes in 4 years and showed up on test day for the rest. High school 2.0

  19. Way to go Bruce! This guy was called a reach pick and high potential bust with possible red flags. He made the Seahawks look smart grabbing him in the 1st round. Congrats on finishing the degree.

  20. I’m going to disagree. My enjoyment was classes, learning new things and succeeding in tests. The degree was a formality for me. I think it is a bit like saying life is a journey, not a destination. If you don’t enjoy getting to your destination, you may feel regrets when you arrive.

  21. dabears2485 says:
    June 28, 2018 at 7:20 am
    I didn’t go to college. Do I regret it? Sometimes. I missed out on social experiences while working long hours six days a week, as well as further education. There are jobs that are unattainable to me because I made that choice. However, I’ve spent 14 years in a factory. I make equal income as my wife, who has a bachelor’s and a master’s. My advice to youth is simple: work hard. Show up, do what you’ve agreed to do, go home. Work ethic is the #1 thing I see lacking today. If we get ten people hired, one might stick. We recently had three walk out at first break without a word to anyone. It was their first day. Education is important, and I will encourage my daughters to seek it. However, work ethic can’t be taught. You either have the drive to succeed in your chosen field or you don’t. A degree doesn’t change that. It opens doors, but it doesn’t get you to go through them.

    ——-

    I do agree with you on 99.9% of your post.

    However, The idea of factory work being a long term career choice is not sustainable, so I am glad that you are encouraging your daughter to pursue an education.

    I am 37 years old and have lived in Michigan my entire life in the Detroit suburbs. My dad worked at Ford Motor Company as a direct supervisor over the assembly line. He did have a degree, and wasn’t a UAW worker- but he was essentially a line guy as he was directly oversaw the physical production of automatic overdrive and rear wheel drive manual transmissions . There were many guys on his line that made a very very good living, but every year that passed less of those jobs were available

    Growing up my dad beat it into my head that I couldn’t expect to waltz out of high school and into the auto plant and have a middle class life. He pushed SOME TYPE of post secondary education. I listened and I got a college degree, it was the right decision for me. And my dad was right.

    Education is the silver bullet, it doesn’t need to necessarily be a university because I truly think that a lot of people are just killing time and burning money in college.

    But weather it is trade school, apprenticeships, field specific certifications, or a university education it is just a uncomfortable fact that you need to set yourself apart with SOMETHING these days. The high paying factory jobs do still exist, and in some part always will, but they are less common with each passing day.

  22. Congrats to Bruce Irvin! He was always one of my favorite Seahawks, and he seems like a genuinely good dude.

  23. Getting a college degree when you are a millionaire? Hell, I got mine at age 23 and had to work full time to do it. Anyway, congrats to Bruce. Serve your dreams.

  24. Perhaps Irvin can pay it forward by paying for someone else’s college tuition? I mean, that’s a nice program the NFL offers but seriously, most of those guys can pay their college bills with cash out of their pockets.

  25. Well if you have a degree from West Virginia do you really have a degree? We call that middle school where I come from. (Just clowning. Seriously congratulations !)

  26. Nice to see a former Seahawk not arrested or in jail for a change.

  27. ———-
    topcide says:
    June 28, 2018 at 11:56 am

    “The high paying factory jobs do still exist, and in some part always will, but they are less common with each passing day.“
    ————-

    I get what you’re saying, but it’s hard to believe that when the company I work for is falling over itself trying to fill positions. The jobs are there. I see them daily. People just don’t seem to want them.

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