Off the gridiron: How to balance academic and athletic success

An interview with Nate Couturier, Panther record-breaker and Academic All-American

Couturier is one of just four wide receivers in the nation and one of four players from the GLIAC to be selected for the first or second Academic All-American team. We sat down with Couturier to learn more about his experience at Davenport as a record-breaking Panther. See what he had to say below.

Q: Now that you’ve been at Davenport awhile, what do you like most about the university?
A: One thing that I like most about Davenport is the average class size. The class sizes are not large, which gives the students the opportunity to get to know the professors better and allows more time for the professors to give each student help. Another thing I like is the proximity of everything on campus — classes, dorms, food and practice facilities are all extremely close to each other, which is very convenient for students.

Q: Why did you choose to attend Davenport University?
A: I chose to come to Davenport University because I knew Davenport had good business degree programs, and I knew that I’d be put into a good position to succeed academically. The unique opportunity to start up a football program also played a pretty big factor.

Q: What made you want to major in accounting?
A: I thought I’d enjoy majoring in accounting because I have always been good at math and have always enjoyed the subject. Also, both of my parents are accountants, so I have been around people who work in the profession my whole life. I felt it would be a good path for me to pursue.

Q: What are the benefits of participating in a sport while in school?
A: One benefit of participating in a sport while in school is the opportunity for scholarships — receiving scholarships to help pay for classes is extremely helpful. Another benefit is learning the life lessons that sports give you. Things like time management, working on a team and working hard.

Q: How do you balance your team obligations with school?
A: Time management is key. You must understand that sports take a lot of time but school is the number one priority. Creating a road map for the week or the semester around practice, classes and homework can be extremely helpful in balancing sports with school.

Q: How do the football team’s leaders help promote players’ academic success?
A: Our team leaders and coaches make it known that school is the number one priority. There are team meetings specifically for promoting the importance of academic success. There are also mandatory study tables and there are consequences, such as game suspensions, if they’re skipped.

Q: How have your professors aided in your academic success?
A: The professors at Davenport are all very willing to give their time and resources to students that are actively seeking academic success. Professors have specific office hour times; however, I’ve had multiple occasions where they have given me help on their own time.

Q: What are your plans after you finish your accounting degree and graduate?
A: I plan on getting a good internship for a job, studying for the CPA exam and eventually taking the CPA exam. My degree from Davenport and everything I learned through football have set me up to be successful after I graduate.

Q: Do you have any tips you could share with other student-athletes on how to achieve academic success while participating in a demanding sport?
A: The tips I would give other student-athletes is to show up, get to know the professors and seek help if you need it. Those three things set up a baseline for achieving academic success. The easiest thing to do in class is to show up — you can’t learn or turn in work if you don’t show up.

Learn more
Nate touched on some great ways to balance school and sports. Utilize his experience to help set yourself up for academic success. Learn more about what Davenport can offer you by visiting


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