Q and A With Greg Larson & John Schneider
By Bill Ford
Sports Information Intern
Washington University in St. Louis
Coming from Madison, Wis., did you grow up a Wisconsin Badgers fan?
Greg Larson: I’ve always been a Badgers fan. It’s a lot of fun now because I get to watch friends I played with in high school playing for the Badger basketball team and football team. I think it adds something to special to the game.
What made you choose to come to Washington University?
Greg Larson: The academic environment is great here, but what separated Washington University from other schools was the social environment and the football team. I sat down with Coach Kindbom during my first visit and he told me that being a football player here would not set me apart from the rest of the student body. Football players here are expected to perform at the same academic level as everyone else. After meeting some of the guys on the team and observing the way they carried themselves, I made my decision that Washington U. was the place for me.
With so many strong college football programs in Wisconsin, did you consider playing anywhere closer to home?
Greg Larson: I wanted to try living outside of Wisconsin and so most of the other schools I was looking at were pretty far from my hometown. I didn’t look at many Wisconsin schools outside of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Talking with coach Kindbom, he told me you are majoring in economics, but you have also made sure to keep your options open by taking all your pre-med requirements. At this point, are you leaning any specific direction in terms of what is next for you?
Greg Larson: At this point, I’m away from med school and focused on finding a job in the realm of management consulting. There are great opportunities post-graduation coming out of Washington University, and I want to make sure I take advantage of them. Currently I am busy submitting all my applications and preparing for interviews coming up in the next month. I’m looking forward to finding out where I end up!
What does it mean to you to be a student-athlete at Washington University?
Greg Larson: I have a lot of respect for the student-athletes on our campus because they have a tremendous commitment. Observing my peers balance a sport with their curriculum and maintaining a social life motivates me to stay on top of my game as well.
What does it mean to you to be a captain on this year’s team?
Greg Larson: Being a captain this year is a humbling experience. To know that my teammates selected me, as someone they can look to for direction is a great feeling and I’d like to live up to the expectation. It’s an opportunity for me to learn and to lead and I’m very grateful for that.
At the end of this season, what would you like to be able to say about your team?
Greg Larson: So far this Bears team has played with a speed and intensity that is unparalleled in my four years at Washington U. We are a close-knit group who knows we can trust one another on and off the field. At the end of the season, I’d like to be able to say that we rose above expectations and won a UAA championship.
Talk about climbing Pike’s Peak with the rest of the seniors. How did that experience impact both the group and you personally?
Greg Larson: Climbing Pike’s Peak was a weekend-long hectic adventure for our seniors. Everyone had to coordinate getting to Colorado from all corners of the country and we ended up all staying at Bryce Buchanan’s house, a recent alumnus of the football team. J.J. Gotlieb, John Schneider and I made the long drive out together and had a great time along the way. Climbing the mountain itself had to be one of the hardest eight hours of my life, but standing at the top of the mountain, knowing that all of the guys who made the trip (including our offensive linemen!) made it to the top of the mountain was a great feeling. All in all, it was a great bonding experience for us and also a lot of fun.
Talk about your nomination to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team. How important has it been for you to be involved with helping others?
John Schneider: Being nominated to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team is one of the things I am most proud of being part of since I have been in college. It is an honor to be considered for a spot on the final team among the elite athletes that have also given back in so many ways. For me, giving back has always been something I have really enjoyed. Football it is something I am very passionate about and I get the same great feeling inside when I know that I have made an impact on someone’s life.
Coach Kindbom told me you are always a player that volunteers to help host recruits and their families during campus visits. How did you get involved in doing this, and what motivates you to continue doing it?
John Schneider: One of the reasons I love helping with the recruiting process is because I love being at Washington University and I want others to see how great it is. I can still remember my visits to Washington U. and how influential being around the players on the team was to making my decision to come play football here. I think I have a lot to say about this school and the football program so I have made it my goal to spread the word to prospects that are looking here as well. In addition to hyping up the school, I have also helped so much because I wanted to get the best scholar athletes I can to come to Washington University and help the program continue to get better and better.
As a pre-med student, I understand you have spent some time volunteering at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. I was wondering if you have any interesting stories from your experience there that you can share?
John Schneider: Volunteering at Missouri Baptist Medical Center was a great experience for me because I got to help people and it motivated me to continue on my career path to becoming a doctor. I volunteered helping the Nurse Technicians on the orthopedic floor with patients that were restricted in their ability to take care of themselves. One experience that I will always remember is helping to feed a 90-year old woman, named Rose, who graduated from Washington University. When I first met her early in the day she was very weak and depressed. I went in her room to feed her lunch as she was too weak to feed herself and started chatting with her. I ended up spending an hour helping her eat and talking to her about anything and everything. By the time I left the room she was a new person with energy and a much more positive attitude. She kept telling me thank you over and over again even though I had just helped her eat. That one hour with Rose still touches me to know what a profound impact just a little help can have on a person’s day or even life.
What is the biggest thing you have learned through your experience working at the hospital that you think you can apply to your future?
John Schneider: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned being around the hospitals that you have to do the things you are passionate about and if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it. This applies so well for both medicine and football. Being a part of Division III college football means doing it because you love it. I don’t get paid, I’m not on T.V., and I don’t have 100,000 fans cheering me on. I do it because I love it and I think that’s what has led to the success that I’ve had. The same can be said for medicine. In a career like medicine that is sort of a delayed gratification, you have to love what you do because it’s not easy and it requires a lot of hard work and time. Having passion is one of the most important attributes to have both on and off the field.
What does it mean to you to be a student-athlete at Washington University?
John Schneider: It is truly an honor to be a student-athlete at Washington University. I am among some of the best athletes and students in the country and it’s great to have that network both in college as well as looking forward into the future. It’s not easy being here with the rigor of academics and then having sports take up the time that it does, but the athletes tend to work together because we share a common bond. I love going into just about every class for the first time to find out another teammate or athlete is in there as well because I know that there will be another motivated, hard working individual that I can work with if needed.
I have asked all the other senior captains this, so I might as well ask you too — What does the role of team captain mean to you?
John Schneider: Being a team captain means that those around me recognize my ability to lead the team. In the past I’ve always had the attitude that I don’t need a title to lead the team, but given the title this year means I’m out in front of everyone now with a more vocal leader as opposed to the leader by example that I have been in the past. It is also another great honor for my teammates to choose me for this role among so many other qualified players.