by Max Edison
Special to the NNPA from The Houston Defender
HOUSTON (NNPA) – Texas Southern University recently held its spring commencement, and one of the highlights was the presentation of an honorary doctorate of humane letters to alum Michael Strahan.
Strahan, now a TV personality, was a star football performer at TSU from 1989-1992, a two-time SWAC Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American his senior year. Drafted by the New York Giants in the second round (40th pick overall, 1993), Strahan’s star-studded 15-year career culminated with a Super Bowl victory in 2007 (XLII).
Among his impressive gridiron accomplishments: seven-time Pro-bowler, five-time first team All-Pro, two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
For all of the honors bestowed on Strahan during what is certain to be a Hall of Fame career, the honor from his alma mater has special significance.
“When I first went out there and sat on the stage and looked up the scoreboard and saw Texas Southern, it was almost surreal, Strahan said. “You realize you’re sitting there getting this honorary degree, it’s pretty amazing. It definitely ranks up there with one of the biggest things to ever happen to me.”
Strahan credits his success both on and off the field to a strong work ethic, the foundation of which was honed at TSU.
“You have goals and you have what you want to do, what you expect to do and sometimes they don’t always go your way, but for me things have always worked out.
“As far as the sports side of it I just believed in working hard, which is what I learned out here in this Texas heat with Walter Highsmith [former TSU head coach] running you like he was trying to test who you are. I simply carried that over to the pros, which definitely worked out.”
Strahan has successfully made the difficult transition from football fame to an equal amount of acclaim in the TV industry. He is a member of the Fox NFL Sunday studio team. In 2012, he was named to succeed Regis Philbin as cohost of the popular daytime talk show, now appropriately renamed, “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”
Again, Strahan credits hard work as a key to his success.
“I carried that same work ethic over to TV,” he said. “I’m always willing to learn, always curious about how to get better about things and that’s what I was taught here; don’t just settle for being mediocre.”
Perfect timing also helped him land the “Live” role.
“I took advantage of the opportunity. I enjoyed myself, I had fun. I showed that it was something I could do. For me, it was about not limiting myself.”