By Brian Calloway
Mon Jun 29, 2009, 05:01 PM EDT
CLINTON, Mich. –
Whether in the classroom or on the playing field, Steven Embry wanted to be the best.
And when the recent Clinton High School graduate wasn’t able to make a physical impact on the playing field, he made it with his leadership.
Embry, who played four different sports during his prep career at Clinton, finished in the top 10 of his class with a 4.09 grade point average. He also spent time volunteering for various events and was a member of the National Honor Society.
For his success in academics and athletics, Embry has been recognized as one of the county’s top scholar athletes by the Daily Telegram’s sports staff.
“Basically a big thing for me was managing my time wisely,” said Embry, who will head to Hillsdale College this fall to continue his football career. “Obviously there were a lot of late nights and I learned to enjoy to drink coffee.”
At Clinton, Embry played football, basketball, ran track and also competed on the soccer team for a year. His most success came on the gridiron where he earned All-State honors and excelled as a kicker and linebacker for the Redskins. He was a three-time all-league selection and twice named All-County. As a senior he received the Team Punisher award — an honor Embry said is his favorite athletic award.
Injuries prevented him from playing a bigger role on the basketball court over the past two seasons, but Embry still was a valuable part of the team.
“His junior year he battled ankle problems,” Clinton basketball coach Mike Ruhl said. “He was out there, but wasn’t himself. It was frustrating because he couldn’t do a lot of the hustle things he used to do.
“Then he had back issues (this season) and only played a half of basketball. His leadership was there and he was active. I just wish I could have had him healthy because I know he would have made us that much better.”
Academically, Embry challenged himself with math and science courses. With plans to go into physical therapy, he thought those courses would best prepare him.
Ruhl, who also teaches biology and environmental science at Clinton, noticed a strong work ethic by Embry in the classroom.
“As far as academics, he always pushed himself,” Ruhl said.
“He challenged himself with his schedule and was just as competitive in the classroom. You could see that he wanted to be at the top of the class just like he wanted to be at the top of his team.”
Away from sports and academics, Embry has assisted with blood drives and volunteered for Relay for Life events and with a Fellowship of Christian Athletes football camp.
This fall, Embry will look to be a valuable contributor for the Hillsdale football program while earning a degree in physical therapy. Embry decided on the school because of the academics, the chance it gave him to play defense and with the help of Hillsdale alums Duane Pelz (Clinton’s track coach) and Ruhl.
“I feel he’s really gotten what he’s deserved as far as good people should get rewarded for their effort,” Ruhl said of Embry’s opportunity to play football and continue his education. “ … I think he’s going to fit in. It’s a good school and it’s not too far from home.