Q & A with Cortez Kennedy
April 2, 2007
Q: What degree did you get from the University of Miami?
A: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Q: Was that the degree you started out with at the University of Miami?
A: No, I first started out in Criminal Justice
Q: Why did you change?
A: Because I needed 9 more hours to get my Criminal Justice degree, and I said, “First come, first serve to get my degree.”
Q: What was your favorite class?
A: Sociology: Race Relations
Q: Why was that your favorite class?
A: Because we talked about the diversity of race, poverty, and politics in urban societies. I had a very strong interest in learning more about the subject.
Q: What was you hardest class?
A: My dance class.
Q: Why was that?
A: Because I don’t know how to dance and the younger kids would laugh at me because I couldn’t dance that good.
Q: But you were known for your quick feet when you were in the league, didn’t that help you out?
A: No because I don’t have any coordination.
Q: How long did it take you to earn your degree?
A: Well I started going to the University of Miami in 1986 for my freshmen year and left for the NFL in 1990. I went back in 2006 and finished my degree this past summer. So it took 16 years from start to finish to earn my degree.
Q: Can you describe how it felt going back to school as only a student instead of a student athlete?
A: It was pretty good. The academic department at the University of Miami really worked with me in helping me choose the right classes. I really felt like a regular student. It also gave me a chance to be a good example to the current University of Miami athletes, seeing me in class, going back to finish my degree.
Q: Any advice to give some of your old teammates who are pondering going back to finish their degrees?
A: Go back and get it, because your kids will never be able to say that you never got your degree. You can always hold that over their head.
Q: What made you decide to go back? Was that part of it having children?
A: My daughter, Courtney, kept asking me to go back and finish my degree. During my playing career in the NFL I did not go back to school because I had to be in Seattle during the offseason and I didn’t want to go to another school besides the University of Miami to finish my degree. Once I finished playing, she really motivated me to go back to school and get my degree. So once I graduated and walked across that stage I told my daughter I don’t care what college she goes to but you are going to get your degree from somewhere.
Q: Who was at your graduation ceremony?
A: My mom, dad, daughter, my good friend Mickey Loomis, former college teammate Russell Maryland, and a couple of other friends.
Q: How proud were they that you earned your degree?
A: Very proud. Matter of fact all of my friends across the league who I played football with, who had a degree were really proud of me.
Q: Can you compare the feeling you had walking across the graduation stage with anything you had playing professional football?
A: Well professional football we are team and graduation is more individual. It felt good to be honored at the ceremony for coming back to school after 16 years. When I got off the stage to leave, a lady came up to me and said, “Cortez I got you beat by 2 years. I finally went back after 18 years to finish my degree.” So I gave her hug and said congratulations.
Q: Did you receive any assistance from the league or players association in going back to school?
A: No. I paid it myself. I did not ask the league or players association for help.
Q: What are your future plans now that you have earned your degree?
A: I don’t know. I guess keep raising my daughter and whatever I see down the road that I want to do, I do it. Hopefully one day I can be a minority owner for an NFL team.