Jennifer Hoffer – Staff Writer –
Senior defensive back Steven Teague has a lot to be thankful for as he enters his final year not only as an Owls student but also as an Owls football athlete. A dominant athlete, at that. Playing on the football team and being part of the Owls family has shaped him into the man he is today.
For Teague, choosing to come to Southern was an easy choice because he said he was familiar with the area.
“When I first started my whole college-search process I used to pass by [Southern] every day because my grandmother lived in the area,” Teague said. “The football program and the education was good too, so it just seemed like a good spot for me.”
Teague did have trouble school-wise though and said he has really improved his study habits because of his coaches’ support and also by being a member of an athletic team and being aware of the consequences by failing to perform in the classroom.
“I knew, for myself, that I wasn’t going to be on the football team any longer if I kept the poor study habits up,” Teague said.
Teague said an eye-opening experience that came in his sophomore year really set the sails for him for his last two years. Teague and head coach Rich Cavanaugh sparked a strong bond after a conversation about Teague’s lack of off-season training and focusing on shaping himself up.
“Coach Cav just let me know that we don’t need that work ethic on the team because when you do that you’re not only letting yourself down, you’re letting the team down,” Teague said. “It showed me I have to really work hard at the game and in life to succeed.”
Teague said playing for Coach Cav was great and that he was so thankful that he took him on to play for him.
“It’s a privilege being able to come play a college sport,” Teague said. “And Coach Cav really kept me on the right page to succeed. I owe him a lot.”
Caring about players is Cavanaugh’s number one priority, Teague said.
“He wants everybody to do well,” Teague said. “He’s honestly just really there for us in every single way possible. I give a lot to Coach Cav for what he does.”
Cavanaugh said that coaching Teague over the past four years has been a privilege.
“Steve has been an outstanding performer for us,” Cavanaugh said. “He is a very positive individual, works very hard and shaped up to be an outstanding young man.”
Cavanaugh said he shows up to practice every day, has a good attitude and works hard.
“He brings enthusiasm to practices and he brings enthusiasm and emotion to games,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s definitely a leader of our football team.”
Cavanaugh said he has also seen an improvement in Teague’s studies.
“He takes his grades more seriously now, he’s more involved in the campus community, and he has a lot of football knowledge now so he can go out and play relaxed and play with more confidence,” Cavanaugh said.
Teague said defensive coordinator Mike Dodge also puts an emphasis on performing in the classroom and has shaped him into being a dominant defensive back.
Teague said he has a lot to take away from his years at Southern and that he has learned lessons from both the field and the classroom.
“Football just makes you a better person and it was a great experience for me because I felt like football kept me in the right mindset,” Teague said. “But it was always school first, football second. You have to keep your priorities straight with anything you do.”
Teague said he is thinking about trying to get into the grad school program and is hoping to leave his hometown in Connecticut sometime soon.
“I’m looking for another internship and was actually thinking about moving away from the area to Atlanta,” Teague said.
Atlanta is a frequent vacation spot for Teague and his family where they go and visit his uncle every summer.
“It’s just a place I’ve always wanted to go, so hopefully I’ll find a job out there,” Teague said.