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After Elite Hockey Career Sophomore Brian Khoury Becomes Leader on the Gridiron

After Elite Hockey Career Sophomore Brian Khoury Becomes Leader on the Gridiron

Have you ever thought you would have a chance at one sport after committing all your time and critical years to another?  Carnegie Mellon University’s Brian Khoury, a sophomore defensive lineman on the football team, got that chance when education trumped his aspirations for playing collegiate ice hockey.
The Davenport, Iowa, native played a lot of sports growing up, but fell in love with a particular one – hockey. Before enrolling at Carnegie Mellon at the age of 21, Khoury played Junior Hockey in hopes of being able to play at the next level.  
“I tried playing soccer in high school and ended up getting cut from the team,” explained Khoury.  “I played football freshman year before giving it up sophomore year because of hockey.”

Also during his senior year of high school, Khoury decided not to play hockey for his high school and instead played for the Quad City Jr. Flames, now the Wisconsin Whalers.

Following his senior year, he continued to play for the Flames for another season, before moving to Haverhill, Massachusetts, (outside of Boston) to play for the Valley Jr. Warriors for a year.  Khoury then played for the Northern Cyclones in Hudson, New Hampshire for a season. Both teams are part of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL), which is a class of hockey between high school and college which is committed to developing and producing student-athletes with aspirations of advancing to collegiate and/or professional hockey.  

“I went east to increase the likelihood of being scouted,” said Khoury.  “Many schools with the academics I wanted were in the Northeast, so I wanted to play in a league more accessible to coaches from those schools.”    

During his time playing for Valley, things were looking good for Khoury, as he was getting looks from collegiate coaches to play at the next level.  He then began to think about his educational future and had a passion for engineering.

“My decision came down to going to a school to play hockey and not for the path of academics that I wanted, or to go to Carnegie Mellon and study what I now have come to love, electrical and computer engineering,” said Khoury.

Once Khoury decided to follow the engineering path to Carnegie Mellon, he thought about continuing his athletic career as a football player.  Khoury didn’t completely give up on football as a high school athlete, as he returned to the game a bigger and stronger person his junior year.

“Going into my junior year, I started growing and decided to play football once again and continued to play my senior year along with hockey,” said Khoury. “Once my decision was made to apply to CMU, I put together a highlight film from my days of playing high school football.”

While most freshmen step on campus at the age of 17 or 18 and life away from home becomes a challenge, Khoury’s age set him apart from his classmates.

"It is different being older," said Khoury. "But the maturity helps me balance and appreciate the demands of being a student-athlete. Junior hockey showed me that I have finite time to do school work and football, so I am going to capitalize on it."

The experiences he had with the success from his high school days to living on his own helped him feel comfortable to become the leader he is today at Carnegie Mellon.

“You want to work with everyone and you never want to overstep boundaries, but at the same time you want to be able to teach,” said Khoury.  “Being aware of when to step up and say something is a big part of leadership and what I have learned from my past experiences.”

“All freshmen face a learning curve with new techniques and scheme, Brian was also out of football for several years; however his maturity both physically and mentally along with his competitive nature enabled him to perform successfully,” commented defensive coordinator Terry Bodnar.  “His hockey experience, along with his success on the field, has placed Brian in a leadership role.”

The love of hockey is one that will never leave the heart and soul of Khoury.  

“Yes, I miss it.  But, I am more at peace knowing that I gave it a run and everything I had,” added Khoury.  “I have accepted that my hockey career is over and I am now trying to make the most out of football. Being done playing hockey has made me appreciate playing football even more.”