With the 2022 NFL season rapidly approaching, fans of the New York Giants are yet again faced with the crushing loss of the 2021 season’s 4-13 record (placing them last in their division and second to last in the conference). In fact, the team is notorious for their decade-long losing streak, disheartening fans such as myself for the state of the program.
But at long last, there is a glimmer of hope for the future of the franchise. That hope is the new general manager: Joe Schoen, DePauw University Class of 2001.
Schoen comes to the Giants with a career spanning over two decades- a career that started immediately after he left DePauw.
“I graduated on a Saturday and I started with the Carolina Panthers on a Monday,” he said.
After seven years in Carolina, Schoen moved on to the Miami Dolphins, where he stayed for about a decade. From the Dolphins, he went to the Buffalo Bills in 2017 and stayed as Assistant General Manager until the end of the 2021 NFL season.
“There's a tremendous amount of pressure in any job that you're doing– to have to succeed, to have success– and I understand what comes with the job here in New York and the media market and the history of the franchise and the passionate fan base. I'm looking forward to getting work with Brian Daboll, our new head coach, and building something here that can compete for championships year in and year out, and hopefully it's sustainable over time,” he told The DePauw of this new role with the Giants.
Don’t let all this behind-the-scenes talk fool you, though. During his time at DePauw, Schoen boasted an impressive football career. The communications major started out as quarterback his freshman year in 1997, but switched to wide receiver for his remaining years, and served as a captain his senior year.
The football team didn’t lose a season while he was on the team, and, as Schoen noted, “We won the Monon Bell all four years. So that was pretty cool.” He added, “My senior year…we were also conference champs.” On top of that, Schoen also set the school record for most catches in a season with 80 catches in 2000.
It wasn’t just the game that impacted Schoen, though- it was the people. When asked who at DePauw had the greatest influence on the rest of his life, Schoen answered, “Nick Mourouzis… Playing for Coach Nick for four years- he was very influential in my life just not only as a coach but as a human and he taught us how to you know grow from college kids into adults and into professionals.”
As a professional, Schoen believes DePauw’s smaller class sizes set him up for success in the professional world, “The smaller classroom setting translates to the real world. You learn from the professors, but because of the intimacy of the classroom you’re in, you are also able to learn from classmates and get their thoughts and it really causes conversation and deeper thought on different subjects.”
Schoen offered his advice for taking advantage of the DePauw experience. He encouraged taking internships in the field you want to go into or using it to study abroad. For example, he used time during his undergrad to work for several sports organizations, ultimately helping him confirm his passion for the industry.
Schoen was eager to share that his experience has been a positive one, “I tell people I've never worked a day in my life… not one time [has it been] a drag or ‘this stinks or I'm not having fun.’ He added that while you’ll always face adversity no matter what you do, “when you're passionate about your job and the task at hand, that far outweighs any type of adversity that you may face and it makes it easier to fight through difficult times.”
For students considering following his footsteps into the sporting industry, he also advised, “Try to reach out and connect as much as you can with people in the industry because a lot of it is who you know, and once you get your foot in the door, it's up to you to maintain whatever job it may be and work as hard as you can.” Schoen knows from personal experience, he added that taking advantage of every opportunity is crucial, “I would be beating down the door to as many sports organizations as you can just to expand your network.”
Schoen shared stories about his time at DePauw, part of which was spent on Lucy Four. “There was no elevator and or air conditioning,” he recalled, adding, “It was a pretty intimate group.” But it wasn’t all endless flights of stairs and unbearable heat for the Alpha Tau Omega alumn- he’s no stranger to campus culture and tradition.
“I haven’t thought about one of those in probably 20-something years,” he laughed after being asked if he was familiar with the concept of a Boulder Run, “I do know what a Boulder Run is, and I may or may not have been part of a Boulder Run before.”
Here at The DePauw, we aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions, so I wrapped up our interview with Joe Schoen with the hardest-hitting question we could think of: “Would you rather beat Wabash or the Dallas Cowboys?”
Tigers, I regret to inform you of Schoen’s response: “That is a tough question. That's not easy for me to answer,” he prefaced. “I guess I'd have to go with the Cowboys right now, since I work for the Giants fans,” said the GM. “That is what puts food on the table for my family,” he quickly clarified, “that's a tough question, though. I’d like to beat them both equally.”
If you can find it in your hearts to move past that answer, you can continue to keep up with Schoen and the Giants in the upcoming NFL season. He’s already impressed with his draft picks and New York has big hopes for him. Here in Greencastle, though, we know that Schoen is for sure the man to take on the struggling Giants because “DePauw never quits,” even when facing incredible odds.