9 Politicians That Were College Athletes

9 Politicians That Were College Athletes 9 Politicians That Were College Athletes

If you are a current or former college athlete looking to become a politician, your background as an athlete could really help you in your job search. There are tons of politicians in history who were college athletes in the past. The natural ability that athletes have to be leaders makes being a politician a very viable choice. Here is a list of nine politicians who were college athletes in the past:

1. George W. Bush: 43rd President of the United States

The first of the politicians on our list is George W. Bush. George W. Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968. During these years, Bush was a fraternity president and also did college cheerleading.

2. Bill Bradley: U.S. Senator from New Jersey

Bill Bradley is a former U.S. Senator and also an incredible basketball player. Bradley played college basketball at Princeton University. Bradley scored 2,503 points at a time when freshmen were not eligible to play varsity basketball and there was no three-point line. He then went on to play for the New York Knicks in the NBA for 10 years before pursuing a career in politics.

3. Cory Booker: U.S. Senator from New Jersey

Cory Booker played college football at Stanford University. Booker was a star high school player but did not find a ton of playing time once he got to college. Booker said of his football career, “I knew back then that football was going to be an extraordinary ticket but not a destination.” He was involved with many other things at Stanford, such as volunteering, the campus 24-hour crisis hotline, and was a dedicated political science major.

4. Gerald Ford: 38th President of the United States

Gerald Ford played college football at the University of Michigan from 1931-1935. Ford played center and started every game his senior year. He was even named the team MVP for that season. Ford went on to assistant coach at Yale University before pursuing his political career.

5. Tom Osborne: U.S. Congressman from Nebraska

Tom Osborne was an incredible athlete at Hastings College from 1955-1959. He was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track. Osborne received the Nebraska Athlete of the Year award in his senior year. Osborne went on to play a few years in the NFL, before returning to get his master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1973, Osborne was named the head coach and remained there for 24 years.

6. Jon Runyan: U.S. Congressman from New Jersey

Jon Runyan played college football at the University of Michigan from 1992-1995. He was selected to the first-team All-Big Ten as an offensive tackle. After college, Runyan went on to play in the NFL for 14 seasons until he began his career as a politician.

7. Bill Richardson: Former Governor of New Mexico

Bill Richardson played college baseball at Tufts University. Richardson was a right-handed pitcher and also played in Cape Cod’s amateur baseball league. He apparently suffered an arm injury that kept him out of the major leagues.

8. Tim Scott: U.S. Senator from South Carolina

Tim Scott received a partial scholarship to play college football at Presbyterian College. Scott was a running back, but quit the team after one season after he found his love for religion. Scott entered politics in 1995 and served on the city council, House of Representatives, and the Senate.

9. Dan Quayle: Former Vice President of the United States

The last of the politicians on our list is Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle played college golf at Depauw University from 1965-1969. Quayle became the team’s number-one golfer his senior year. He became involved in government in 1974 and held positions in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and was the Vice President for George H. W. Bush.

Image Credit: Stanford Athletics / Gerald R. Ford Library / Tufts Digital Library / Journal Star / Princeton University Library

* Originally published on July 25, 2023, by Bella Nevin

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