Feb. 5, 2014
By Alexis Cubit
Baylor Bear Insider
As a former football player, Terrance Ganaway is used to change and making adjustments.
During his senior year at DeKalb (Texas) High School, he committed and de-committed from a couple of schools before finally signing with the University of Houston.
"Houston provided a great opportunity to be successful and, obviously, get a good degree at a good institution," he said. "I connected really well with coach (Randy) Clements; he was my recruiting coach. Basically, he said, `Hey man, you're going to have an opportunity to compete,' and I wanted that opportunity. So that bond was strong enough for me to really just love the school and everything Houston and coach (Art) Briles and his staff had to offer."
However, it wasn't that easy. In the fall of 2007, after Ganaway's freshman season at Houston, Briles and the staff that he had grown to love left UofH for Baylor. Seven months later, Ganaway's mother died.
"I was in the balance of I don't want to play football again; I don't want to be in Houston," Ganaway said. "It was just a bad taste in my mouth. And so, I went home for a year."
Being at home gave him the time he needed to clear his mind and get back to football. He enrolled at a local junior college, and then the recruiting process began again. While he talked to many school, it became obvious that Baylor was his school of choice.
"Coach Briles and his staff were definitely a huge influence on me coming back to play football, period," he said. "I just thought (Briles and I) had a lot of similarities and related very well. I mean, there is no other staff I wanted to play for."
In his first season at Baylor in 2009, Ganaway rushed for 200 yards and a team-high five rushing touchdowns.
Being a Baylor student-athlete was special for him, especially playing with Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright, Philip Blake and Lanear Sampson. To this day, he is passionate about his alma mater.
"So many historical moments that have taken place in Floyd Casey, that's big in the program history the last three or four years; it's just very special to be a part of that," he said. "I don't necessarily miss football, I just wish I could play half a snap in the new stadium. But I know just going in there and building and being a part of the team helped build that and helped that get into motion. For recruiting purposes, if you're recruiting high school, it would almost be dumb not to come to Baylor, because everything's going to be catered toward you being a highly successful athlete and a student as well."
Taken in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, Ganaway was later traded to the St. Louis Rams. Preparing for the Draft was much different than being recruited out of high school, he said. But in both situations, he was happy with the end result.
"It's totally different than the recruiting process," he said. "It's a lot more poking and prodding and getting to know the psyche of an individual, rather than evaluating sheer talent in high school. You have to be a good evaluator to get a guy here and then develop him as a player; and then hopefully reaches the climax of hs playing career by going to the NFL. But it's a lot more business-oriented in the NFL. I sat at home with family and friends and received that phone call from Rex Ryan and Mike Tannebaum (of the Jets). It's just a huge, huge part of my life, and I'm very grateful for that."
After just one season in the NFL, Ganaway decided that something he had wanted for so long really wasn't what he wanted anymore. It was time for him to move on.
"Since I first learned how to say `football,' I wanted to be in the NFL," Ganaway said. "I didn't actually play downs at running back, but I had an NFL experience. And not a lot of people can say that. I just felt like it was time for a change. I knew basically after my mom died that my perspective on life changed. My mom always challenged me to be successful in other areas and other avenues of my life. I'm taking a step away from football, the game I loved for so many years and still do today, and trying out a different career."
If there is one thing that football taught him, it's the ability to adapt and be prepared. That's why Ganaway knew he would be OK when he stepped away from the field. He had another plan in mind.
"Ideally, my plan is to graduate with my MBA in Healthcare Administration, and hopefully in less than five (years)," he said. "That's my five-year plan, and then we'll see what's best for me and my family at that point. But the opportunity I have here at Baylor . . . it's just such a good thing, because it provides a ton of experience at a big institution."
Now back at Baylor, Ganaway is serving the school in a different way. In January, he began working as an assistant director in the business office for the Baylor athletic department. Normally good at adapting to change and new experiences, Ganaway admits that he's having a harder time in his new role.
"It's just athletes, we adapt to change very well," he said. "And it's so crazy, because I was telling some of my co-workers that it's hard. I'm having a hard time adapting. The people are totally different. I'm not saying athletes are unprofessional; and I'm not saying that everyone here is super-professional. It's just a different animal, from the locker room."
The differences include backgrounds, personalities and even interests.
"I asked some people (in the office) if they've ever seen the movie `Friday,' and they've never heard of it," he said, laughing. "In the locker room, people would quote the whole move verbatim, so it's some adjusting to happen, but I'm excited about it. it's going to be good for me, anyway."
Although it's been a challenge going from the football field to his office at the Simpson Athletic and Academic Center, Ganaway is slowly but surely taking steps to his new dream career, starting with going back to school to work on his Master's degree in Sports Pedagogy.
Education has always been important to him, and Ganaway stresses it to the current Baylor players, within certain limits.
"They say the average man only lives 65 years," he said. "You graduate college at 23; you go play in the NFL for five years. You make great money, but you're 28. Now, what are you going to do for the next 40 years of your life? So, I try to encourage those guys. I know I can't really communicate with them too much now that I'm an employee of Baylor because of (NCAA) Compliance. But I still have several friends on the team. Bryce Petty is one, and he's doing well for himself. There are several guys that I still communicate with. (It's) just hard to find the fine line and balance of that existing relationship we did have and that relationship we must have going forward."
Outside of work and school, Ganaway is a devoted husband and father, although he admits it's sometimes hard to balance.
"You want to go and visit and hang out with friends or do stuff," he said. "But we have a 7-month-old, my wife, Jenny, and I. So, it's just hard to get out and do stuff. You just have to be veery intentional on the weekends. I try to be resourceful and try to give Jenny a break from parenting and being a mother with Camila all the time. I just try to do my part, and maybe I'm going over and beyond, but I still think there are a lot of things I can do that will help ease my family's burden of having to put up with me every day."