Where are they now? Former student-athletes reflect on their time at the university

Former FAU athletes give an inside look at what it was like being a college athlete.


The Morris couple (left), Sully Zagerman (top right), Whitley Herb (bottom right).

Lili Jahromi and Gianna Alberti

Former university student-athletes reflect on their time spent competing at a collegiate level–regrets, favorite memories, the whole inside scoop.

A few former student-athletes who have gone on to accomplish their dreams gave insight into how they’ve gone on in pursuit of their athletic and career aspirations. 

Photo courtesy of Anthony Adger.

Men’s Basketball, Anthony Adger

Since the 2019 graduate’s time at FAU, Adger has played professional basketball overseas in Kosovo, Cyprus, and currently Bosnia. Adger’s experience in Boca Raton shaped him to be a beneficial point guard for the KK Promo Bosnia basketball team.

Before committing to play basketball at the university, Adger played for a junior college in Spartanburg South Carolina, Spartanburg Methodist College. 

Adger spent his junior and senior years at the university. Reflecting on his first visit to campus he said, “The campus was beautiful and I fell in love, and of course the beach was a plus.” However, the gorgeous scenery and short distance from the beach were not what sold him. 

The main reason he chose the university is that “the basketball staff treated me like family from the first time I stepped on campus,” Adger said. 

Adger explained that moving overseas was a huge culture shock, but the university helped to prepare him for the adjustment.

“FAU helped me out, I saw people from many different places around the world,” Adger said.

Adger touched on the hardships he faced while on the men’s basketball team.

“One of my biggest challenges was after my junior year when we had a new coach come in,” said Adger, referencing Dusty May.“I didn’t know what to expect and it was his first year being a head coach so it was a hard change, but he ended up being great,” Adger and Coach May still keep in touch today.

His professional basketball career is off to a fantastic start as he continues to add more skills under his belt. Adger shares that his biggest motivation in basketball is his 4-year-old daughter.

“She motivates me a lot, I make sacrifices for her so she doesn’t have to worry financially or struggle with student loans and such,” said Adger.

Photo courtesy of Sully Zagerman.

Men’s Golf, Sully Zagerman

Alumni Sully Zagerman was born and raised in Orlando, Fla. Zagerman loves his home state, so when the time came around to look for colleges, it was an easy choice to stay in Florida. 

Zagerman was offered a scholarship at the university that he could not say no to. He played golf at the university where he excelled reaching 279 career birdies, which was the most in the program’s history and 30 more than the second-ranked player.

After completing his MBA in international business, Zagerman now is a full-time law school student at Nova Southeastern University (NSU). 

Zagerman shared that he has always been one to “hit the books,” but balancing collegiate golf and school was a challenge for him. 

“It was extremely difficult,” said Zagerman. “Golf alone is very time-consuming… our practices could take 5-6 hours on top of a workout, throwing school into that mix was a difficult challenge.” 

Time management in college, although tiresome, has made law school easier for Zagerman. He uses the time management skills he learned in college to balance out his work now. 

When asked about the bond with his college teammates, Zagerman said, “I got very close with my teammates, we were the same years, had the same practices, workouts, classes, we just grew close. It is a really special bond, I’m lucky to have those close friends.”

Playing professionally weighed heavily on Zagerman’s mind. Ultimately he decided to focus on getting his law degree, despite having a couple of good professional golf opportunities. 

“Going pro still isn’t out of the question, I practice enough to where if I were to have that level of regret I still could but right now I am very happy with what I’m doing,” said Zagerman. 

He has dreamed of being a lawyer since kindergarten and his motivation stems from his desire to help those who cannot help themselves. 

Zagerman offered some advice for current university athletes, “Work hard. It’s a short time period, it flies by so fast…don’t have the regret that you could’ve worked harder, that being in school or on the fields, anything. Leave it all out there, because the real world comes up fast.”

Photo courtesy of Friederike Feil.

Women’s XC and Track/Field, Friederike Feil

Feil ran cross country and track at the university until she graduated in 2011. She moved to Boca Raton from the south of Germany when she was 19.

“It was always my dream to study somewhere warm and sunny, so when I got the offer from FAU, I decided pretty quickly,” Feil said.

Feil explained that although moving to a new country was hard, the university environment was welcoming and she felt supported. Feil spoke highly of track and field coach Alex Smolka, whom she said was very caring and made her feel taken care of.

While on the team, she ran the 5K, 1500, the mile, and the 800 meter–but she was a broad athlete and could run most events. 

Feil majored in exercise science and health promotion. She explained that studying health helped her stay on top of her nutrition during the season, allowing her to perform better.

Since graduating, Feil has moved back to Germany. She no longer runs competitively and never sought to run professionally. 

“I do still run for pleasure, but it’s a minimum. When I came back to Germany I still ran competitively for 5 years. When I stopped running, I felt content because of how much running I did through my life,” said Feil.

Feil now lives in Berlin, where she runs an alternative and holistic health company which she founded 4 years ago. 

“It’s growing slowly but surely,” Feil said.

Her work ethic in college has carried into her life as a woman in the work field.

Feil touches on how being on the track and field team positively impacted her life. 

“Being on a team and having all the different characters has helped me with my life now because I have my own company. In any company, there are so many different opinions, I am able to stay calm and see the different perspectives. Being on the track team showed me how diverse life is and of course, there are some conflicts, but I have learned how to deal with them respectfully and how to communicate well,” said Feil. 

Feil’s main priority in life right now is to build her business, called Die Dr. Friederike Feil Akademie, this translates to Dr. Friederike Feil Academy. 

The Dr. Friederike Feil Academy sells vitamins and supplements, as well as teaches how to overcome health problems like chronic fatigue, obesity, depression, gas and skin problems, and how to cure allergies and food intolerances. 

She expressed how excited she is about taking the next step in her life. 

“I loved the time I had in Florida, but I’m really happy running my own company. In college I was realizing my dreams, I got all the tools I need to run my company from FAU,” Feil said.

Photo courtesy of Toni Jackson.

Women’s Track/Field, Toni Jackson, Mid-Distance Runner

Toni Jackson ran track and field, but originally attended the University of Miami (UM). Jackson explained that she did not like the track program at UM, and the financial costs were high. 

Jackson was a mid-distance runner. Some of the events she often participated in were the 4×4 relay, the 4×8 relay, and her main event which was the 800-meter race. 

She was FAU’s highest finisher in the 800m at the Hurricane Invitational, a track meet hosted by UM, during the 2007 outdoor track season.

Jackson joined many clubs at the university, some being minority groups and Caribbean heritage groups as she is from Jamaica. She currently lives in Georgia. 

One of her favorite extracurricular activities at the university was volunteering to read for blind and deaf students. 

She ran track in high school and was excited for the opportunity to walk onto the FAU track team. Jackson said she was not very fast when she first joined the team.

Jackson explained the conversation she had with the coach at the time. Jackson said the coach told her, “let’s see how things go within the year, and if things look better we can have a conversation about a scholarship.” 

This increased her motivation, and Jackson was eventually given a scholarship.

“I improved drastically and was soon one of the top 3 athletes on the team,” Jackson said. 

Jackson was always extremely busy; she balanced school, track, and other extracurriculars. 

“I’m not your typical student in the sense that I was one of the few student-athletes at the time that was pursuing medicine as a career. That made my experience more challenging than the traditional student-athlete,” Jackson said.

Jackson now works as an emergency room physician. She is looking to transition away from the emergency room so she can structure her career to have more time off. 

Her parents pushed her into a professional field, which prompted her to study medicine. Jackson also grew up loving biology and anatomy, so medicine was something that felt right.

Connecting her career and track, Jackson stated, “as an emergency room provider one of the big things that you have to hone as part of your craft is team leading, nothing in the emergency room functions as an independent entity, being a member of the track team gave me the groundwork for that.”

Jackson savors the memories at the university, and would not change the experience she had. 

“I miss the relationships and jokes the teammates would make, it was like a second family,” Jackson said. 

Photo courtesy of Javi Rivera.

Baseball, Javi Rivera, Pitcher

Since his time at FAU, Rivera is now a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He signed with the team on July 23 after they selected him in this year’s MLB Draft. Rivera gives credit to his coaches, especially head coach John McCormack for all the success he has had not only as a pitcher but also as a baseball player.

Coaches have way more experience with the MLB process. McCormack has gotten guys in very good positions to pursue their professional careers. Coach David Kopp, who was a pitching coach during Rivera’s time, had experience playing in pro-ball, mentored Rivera alongside Blake Sanderson.

He first attended junior college, Indian River State College in Fort Pierce before transferring to FAU where McCormack offered him a scholarship. 

“Guys that go to junior college put themselves in a position to develop more because not only are you getting the practice, but you are also playing a lot more. Usually, guys that come straight out of high school, unless you are a top dog, do not typically play until your junior [year]. Me, going to JUCO, was the best thing for me because it gave me the boost and confidence to pitch in college,” Rivera said.

Rivera said that the transition was difficult at first but there were resources everywhere at the university during the pandemic. 

“It is a lot different than being at a junior college and it did not help that it was Covid. Having full online classes is difficult; I like learning more in-person and being in lecture halls, but I was able to keep up with my work because of online tutoring,” Rivera said.

MLB teams were not doing pre-draft workouts because of the pandemic, becoming more difficult to get recruited. Every team was doing zoom meetings with players.

“Once I got to FAU, teams interested would contact me ever so often and many of the South Florida scouts have a great relationship with Coach Mac. He would tell me what they were saying or keep it to himself. After the fall season ended, I started meeting with cross-checkers and pitching directors. However, it was a lot less contact with me once I got to FAU than it was before,” Rivera said.

Having the opportunity to play professional baseball is almost every baseball player’s dream. 

“I wanted to play professional baseball, I think every kid since [they were] five years old wants to play and make it to the big leagues. I realized I could do that once I got to junior college and my sophomore year, it started becoming a reality. This year, I felt I had more pressure on me to get it done. It has been a dream but the dream is not finished yet; I want to make it to the big leagues,” said Rivera.

Photo courtesy of Whitley Herb.

Softball, Whitley Herb, Outfielder

It has been seven years since Herb last stepped on the FAU softball field, graduating in 2014. She was fortunate to start as a freshman in center-field and was the leadoff batter because of her ability to slap hit. 

Herb had a decent amount of offers from each division level, but no school as big as FAU. She said being a college athlete was the best experience ever.

She developed great friendships within her softball team. 

“Some of my team members are my best friends that I still talk to on the phone every day. Coach Chan Walker is probably the only coach I keep in touch with and we were just at a wedding for one of my former teammates,” Herb said.

Since graduating, life is completely different for Herb as she is now in North Carolina. She started with psychology but ended with a degree in health administration, where she now works in the business aspect of healthcare.

“I work for UNC Health and there is a corporate site where I am a program manager, working for the primary care, making sure everyone is good on their quality measures,” Herb said.  Herb recently just accepted another job with UNC, she is an analyst for their medical record system. 

Throughout her four years of softball, Herb said teamwork and time management were really important. Being able to be a team player and be counted on has to be incorporated into her everyday work-life.

“I am very grateful for softball and I wouldn’t change it. I loved the games and my last game, I could not stop crying all night. 15 years of my life and it all ended, but I am happy where I am at now,” said Herb.

Photo courtesy of BJ Murray.

Baseball, BJ Murray, Infielder

Murray played three years with the Owls before signing with the Chicago Cubs after they drafted him. His main position is at third base but he can play anywhere in the infield.

Originally from the Bahamas, the university felt like home to Murray because of the weather and the environment but also the baseball coaches.

“The coaches are the best too. Can’t get better coaches anywhere, so that was always comforting. The coaches make it more of a home rather than just a baseball team. They treat you like their kids. The guys were great, we always got along with each other,” said Murray.

Going into his first minor league season, Murray felt well prepared because of the great coaching staff behind Coach McCormack.

“My first year playing professional baseball was cool, a little bit of an adjustment, being that I was so far away from everyone I knew and obviously the competition is completely different, but the coaches at FAU [did] a good job at preparing us,” Murray said.

The past three months, Murray was up in Chicago where he would do weightlifting, hit in the cages, and defensive drill work. 

“As we became more accustomed to what was going on, the coaches would put us in the games,” Murray said.

While at the university, Murray has had amazing memories, but one game from his freshman year stands out.

“My freshman year, my first game in college, I hit a home run. It was opening night, too, so that was probably my most favorite memory,” said Murray.


Photo courtesy of the Morris couple.

Football and Soccer Alfred, Running Back and Lindsey Morris, Midfielder

The couple met at FAU during Alfred’s fifth year and Lindsey’s second year. The pair got to know each other through Lindsey’s academic advisor. They have been married for seven years and have four children.

“We knew each other because of Ang. He would pop in and see her, she was not even his advisor, but she was awesome. We connected through there, but we really did not know each other that well,” the Morris said. “I kind of had a little crush on him. But I would jokingly say he was my husband, but he did not know,” Lindsey said.

Both Alfred and Lindsey attended FAU for their athletic ability. Alfred was on the football team and Lindsey transferred from FSU to FAU for women’s soccer.

Lindsey came to the university in the spring of her freshman year. She was primarily a midfielder and played a lot of her sophomore year under Coach Brian Dooley before tearing her ACL her junior year.

“I tore my knee [in] either the first or second game of the season. During my junior year, Dooley left and they brought in Coach [Patrick] Baker and when I met him, I knew he was legit. He reminded me so much of my coach at FSU. I knew he would turn the program around and after I graduated, the team had a great record,” Lindsey said.

Alfred received a scholarship for football but switched positions during his time on the team. He came on the team as a fullback but not until his second year did he get a chance to play his true position, running back.

“It was a huge game. It was my redshirt freshman year. We ended up winning 57-50. I played on special teams and we had a huge turnover during the onside kick. I did not recover it, one of the other guys did. He laid out and speared the guy. It was such a big moment, a turning point in the game that helped us win,” Alfred said.

Alfred would later go on to get drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the then-Washington Redskins. In 2016, he went to play for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. He signed with the New York Giants in 2020.

“We have been at crossroads, I still technically play. I was at camp with the Giants, but we have been back and forth because football opportunities keep arising, but it is never secure. Football has been back and forth, but we are getting into the business world. I met with the Dean of Business and now I am getting my MBA. We also own a lawncare landscaping business,” Alfred said.

Gianna Alberti and Lili Jahromi are contributing writers at the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email them at [email protected] and [email protected].