Teamwork is a skill that is essential in any profession to be successful. Whether its performing research in a laboratory, saving lives in a house fire, or playing in the National Football League, being able to work together with fellow colleagues is something Harold Jones-Quartey ’15 learned during his time as a student and as an athlete at The University of Findlay.
“On the field or in the classroom, being able to communicate with my team effectively to execute our mission is a skill I need to be the absolute best,” said Jones-Quartey.
For Jones-Quartey, achievement in class and in the game came from many life lessons he learned at UF. “Whether it was meeting deadlines for assignments or leading the defense during a game, UF taught me a basic understanding of discipline,” he said. “Sometimes your hard work is not enough, and you have to find that true passion to overcome the odds and have success.”
Being picked up by the Chicago Bears after his preseason performance, Jones-Quartey is fighting every day to earn his spot as a starting defensive safety in the NFL. The Chicago Bears organization, which dates back to 1920 has won a total of nine World Championships, represented 27 players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has earned over 700 victories. Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, and Mike Ditka are only a few of the many monumental players of this elite franchise that Jones-Quartey has joined.
He must be prepared to perform to the best of his abilities when his number is called to play. Jones-Quartey also has to prove to the coaching staff that he is worth keeping around. Coming from a Division II university rather than a large Division I, he does not have the same security as many of the other players do. This disadvantage is just another obstacle Jones-Quartey is willing to face to make his dreams a reality.
“Each day I remind myself how I got here and what it took to make this happen,” he said. “That never fails to motivate me to be ready to play my best.”
Overcoming these barriers started with his success as an Oiler. Jones-Quartey explained that being an athlete made him a better student in the classroom, and his experiences as a student made him a better leader on the field. “The time-management skills of being a student athlete pushed me to get higher grades than I probably would have received if I didn’t have my coaches motivating me to keep studying,” said Jones-Quartey. “The discipline I needed to obtain quality grades propelled me to be a better student of the game.”
Jones-Quartey was not only a role model for his teammates on the field, but for many other student athletes in the classroom. Philip Lucas, Ph.D., associate professor of criminal justice and forensic science, explained that Jones-Quartey always sat in the front row, was engaged in the conversations and served as a mentor to many guys on the football team. “He would take them under his wing and really lead by example of what it took to be a successful student athlete at The University of Findlay,” said Lucas. Balancing athletics and academics is a difficult task, especially within four years to graduate on time. “Harold was able to accomplish his dream of graduating from college, and now he’s working hard for his dream to play in the NFL,” said Lucas. “He’s got a good head on his shoulders, He’ll do just fine getting there.”
In the business world of the NFL, Jones-Quartey’s future is uncertain at this time. The spotlight will be focused on every play he gets throughout the rest of the season to determine where he will be next year. “I can’t thank UF enough for the opportunities, lessons, and advice that I received during my time in college and so far as an alumnus,” said Jones-Quartey. “I’ll always be a proud supporter of my Findlay Oilers no matter where life takes me.”