Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2006
In This Issue:

CLAS Act

Chris Leak (B.A., Sociology, 2006)

Chris Leak
Chris Leak
Chris Leak will go down in Gator history as one of the greatest football players ever to take the field. He came to UF in 2003 as the starting quarterback, and less than a month after receiving his bachelor’s in December, led the team to a 41–14 victory over Ohio State in the national championship. Whether visiting the White House or appearing on the Tonight Show, the NFL draft candidate’s life couldn’t be busier these days, but he continues to make time for his alma mater.

ACn: How did you select your sociology major and how do you think your liberal arts degree will serve you?

CL: You can do so many different things with a liberal arts degree, and that is what sold me on my decision. It was a great way to go because there are so many possibilities when you have a major that is very broad and flexible—and being involved in athletics helps open up even more doors for the future.

ACn: In addition to your own stunning success, your brother C.J. Leak is a football star in his own right, now playing for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Where did all of this athletic talent come from?

CL: We got our athletic skills from our father, who played professional football for the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He introduced the game of football to us at a young age and we grew up with great love and passion for the sport.

ACn: How have you been able to stay so focused and level-headed, despite coaching changes, fickle Gator fans and quarterback controversies?

CL: I understood as a student-athlete there would be adverse times. With the help of my family, teammates and faith in the Lord, I always had confidence in myself.

ACn: Is it true that you made a vow not to date until the Gators won a championship ring?

CL: During my freshman year, I wanted my teammates to know that I was dedicated to helping them win a national title. Since then I have been in a relationship with a very special woman who is a Gator alum herself and has been very helpful and supportive throughout my career.

ACn: Where do you see yourself 20 years from now, after you’ve hung up your cleats?

CL: If I were not an athlete, I would pursue a career in sports radio/TV broadcasting. After I’m finished playing professional football I will begin pursuing my broadcasting career.



William Herbstman (B.A., Political Science, 1983)

Frances Mayes
William Herbstman
Throughout his 28-year career, sports producer William Herbstman has collected 7 Emmy Awards and covered almost every major sporting event in the world. From the Kentucky Derby to the Super Bowl, he has worked more than 2,000 shows and flown over 2 million miles around the globe—but one of his favorites places continues to be the UF campus.

ACn: What does an associate director of sports production do and how did you tap into this field?

WH: I am the person responsible for integrating all the commercials and sponsored items. If you have ever seen a TV control room, I’m the one with all the stopwatches counting down to and back from commercial. I started out as a gopher for ABC Sports as a high school senior in Miami in 1979 and have been doing it ever since.

ACn: Which sporting genre do you enjoy the most?

WH: My favorite event to cover is the Olympic Games, because you are on site for a month and really get to understand and experience the city and its people.

ACn: What are some of your favorite memories of your time at UF?

WH: Watching movies on the Reitz Union lawn, eating at Skeeters in the middle of the night (loved those big biscuits!), going to basketball games at the Florida Gym just before the O’Connell Center was built, and realizing that it really does get cold in Gainesville in January and February.

ACn: What do you think about this spectacular year for Gator athletics?

WH: Following our football team’s huge win back in January, I was proud to wear my Gator football jersey the next day for a 30-hour trip to Melbourne for the Australian Open—explaining to others from around the world how wonderful and powerful is the Gator Nation. I have never had the opportunity to cover Gator sports in recent years, but hopefully someone is listening out there and will send me to Gainesville for an event in the next year.

ACn: What impact did UF make on your life?

WH: Making the decision to go to UF was one of the easiest I have ever made. It is a great school, with outstanding professors and administrators, an incredible student body and a beautiful campus. I have always been proud to be a Florida Gator and will until the day I pass on. The Gator Nation lives on in me as I travel the globe documenting the world of sports.

—Buffy Lockette

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