Nov. 6, 2012
By John Hirn
Ram Alumni Athletes Association
On December 31, 1999, Greg Pollard made CSU history when he became the first Ram football player to appear in three bowl games during his career. As a 17-year-old true freshman in 1995, Pollard played in the 1995 Holiday Bowl and in 1997 he played in the Holiday Bowl again, beating Missouri in a story-book season. During his career as a defensive tackle for the Rams, Pollard played with some of the greatest Rams of all-time during one of the finest football eras in school history.
Pollard came from Sera High School in Gardena, California, the same school as the Rams' Frank Rice and Milt Palacio. Former Rams coach John Skladany noticed Pollard when he came to recruit another player. After offers from Washington State and UNLV, Pollard chose CSU because he liked Skladany, Sonny Lubick and he felt the Rams were on their way to something big after seeing them beat top-ranked Arizona in 1994.
Pollard signed with CSU in the recruiting class of 1995 with other players like Matt Newton, Kevin McDougal, Erik Olson, Daren Wilkinson, Damon Washington and Joey Porter. Together this class of football recruits learned from other veteran Rams like Sean Moran, Brady Smith, Ray Jackson, Moses Moreno, Adrian Ross and EJ Watson. This created one of the greatest periods in CSU football history and Pollard was there to help the Rams capture three conference championships.
Pollard remembered his playing days with these Ram greats with fondness and said, "Being a part of history was awesome. It was like living a dream. We expected to beat every team we played no matter who we played. We expected to win conference championships and go to and win bowl games. We held each other accountable. It was not accepted, amongst the players to have a bad practice, play or game."
Pollard looked back on his most influential coaches at CSU and credits current Rams Director of Football Operations, Tom Ehlers, as someone that kept him on track. He said, "Coach Ehlers was most influential to me as a student. As a player I had dreams of going to the league (NFL) therefore school came secondary. I had a "Ball or Fall" mentality (I had no plan B) however, Coach Ehlers was determined to make sure I went to class, passed my classes and graduated."
Pollard did graduate in 2000 with a BA in Liberal Arts. He later went on to teach, earned a Master's Degree in Education from Biola University in 2007 and is currently the dean of students at Aurora West College Prep Academy in Aurora, Colorado.
Pollard now works as an academic coordinator for CSU, mentoring student-athletes. He continues to support the Rams as a season ticket holder and is active in the RAAA. He said, "The Ram Alumni Athletes Association is a great group that supports current student-athletes and connects former student-athletes with one another and to the program (via student-athlete alumni events, etc.). I think every former CSU student-athlete should be a part of the RAAA because it provides former student-athletes with a chance to be a part of the program, we are given numerous opportunities to give back to current student-athletes, and we are able to connect with other former student-athletes."
Greg Pollard looks fondly upon his playing days at CSU and hopes his fellow alums will do the same by continuing to support Rams athletics. He said, "I encourage every former Ram to get and stay involved with the program. We must be a part of keeping CSU on top academically and athletically. The next Joey Porter, Becky Hammon, and Milt Palacio are waiting."