What’s playing football in Finland like? Ask Eric Tupta ’05. Tupta, who earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Colgate University last May, spent several months in Finland as a linebacker for the Jaguars.
“I led the Maple League in tackles and in sacks,” he says. Now he is in Cleveland training for PRO Day that tests athletes who want to play professional football to see how fast and strong they are. Working in landscaping for Russ DeDonno, father of Nick DeDonno ’05, is keeping him in shape for a run at professional football. He also is applying to graduate schools in business with an eye toward being an administrator for an NFL team managing players. One quote, Tupta says, that has driven him in life is that “it is easy to be ordinary, but it takes courage to excel.” He believes this idea has helped him to achieve.
Tupta says he has wanted a career in the sports industry since he was a kid. He began playing football in fourth grade when his father, Robert Tupta, coached at Gesu Catholic School. At Gilmour, Tupta chalked up scores of honors playing on the Lancers Varsity Football team his junior and senior years and led the team in tackling. He was noted for his speed, strength, power and balance, and was twice named Division V Defensive Player of the Year for the Associated Press All-Northeast Lake District Football Team. He earned an athletic scholarship to Colgate, where he was a three-year starter on the Raiders varsity football team and won two Patriot League championships. He played halfback and was a linebacker.
Now that he is back in Cleveland, Tupta sees several of his Gilmour friends. “I credit Gilmour with giving me the tools needed to succeed in both athletics and academics,” he says. “These tools include being well-organized, open to criticism to improve and being proud of my blue-collar work ethic.”