ULM great Joe Profit Recounts Life in New Book

Written by :Tabby Soignier | Feb. 11, 2013 | Source: thenewsstar.com

Most of the time when Monroe natives hear the name Joe Profit, they almost always associate it with the running back’s career at then-Northeast Louisiana University.

The first African-American athlete at the school played from 1967-70 and became the all-time leading rusher in the Gulf States Conference, ended his career as ULM’s all-time leading rusher at the time and was named an All-American, as well as the conference’s Athlete of the Year.

Profit remains the university’s only NFL first-round draft pick. The running back was selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the seventh overall pick in the 1971 draft.

Profit is proud of his accomplishments on the gridiron, but his new book, “Fields of Success, Raised Expectations,” highlights his experiences from “the cotton field, to the football field and into the business field.”

Profit released his 271-page biography two weeks ago after years of people prompting him to write a book of his life stories he often shared with his Falcons’ teammates and later while traveling around the country giving speeches.

“I talk about how all these various fields or areas of life somehow all connect and stressed in the book that success shouldn’t be dependent upon one goal or dependent upon achievements,” Profit said. “We should have success in various areas of our lives.

“We should have success in being a good daughter or good student and being the best person in your position. That’s success, and then you should aim or raise expectations and the level of achievements.”

CHOOSING NORTHEAST

In Profit’s book, he seems to hold people to a high standard from very early on in his life.

He played for the undefeated Richwood Rams from 1963-66 and was a part of a 66-game winning streak under legendary head coach Mackie Freeze.

He was one of 12 student athletes who continued their football careers after high school, but he was the only player to not attend Grambling or Southern.

Profit started his collegiate career at Alcorn State but caught a bus home after he grew tired of the head coach lying to him.

His father, Simon, asked him what his next move was, expecting his son to say Grambling or Southern. Profit caused his father to drop a bowl loud in the sink when he said, “Northeast,” because at the time it was known as the “white school”.

In the book, Profit explains his first meeting with NLU head coach Dixie White. He asked his high school track coach Abe Pierce to drive him to the campus to meet with the coaching staff and stood his ground when he was laughed at for the mere thought of joining the football team.

Profit received his fair share of taunts from his teammates, which led to several fights on the practice field, and spent his dinners in the cafeteria eating alone, until Lewis told his team that Profit was never to be seen eating alone again.

“I learned from my days in the cafeteria that you can learn so much about life from talking to just about anyone,” Profit wrote in his book. “Even today when I go on business trips all around the country, I’ll go into a restaurant and ask a random person if I can eat with them.”

GROWING UP ON THE GRIDIRON

As his teammates came around, Profit still endured nasty name-calling from fans.

He recalls one trip to Stephen F. Austin as a freshman as one of the worst taunting crowds, but he quickly turned it around.

Profit scored the only touchdown of the game on a 9-yard reception on the way to a 10-0 victory on Sept. 23, 1967 — a little more than a month after Profit’s 18th birthday.

“They were called the Lumberjacks, and they had these hammers in the stands,” Profit said. “I was really scared. I was a rookie. I was afraid. I’d never really been away from home, but that game stood out because I really grew up that night.”

Profit recalls the stands turning from taunting to cheers of, ‘Go Joe Go,” as he broke free from four tackles on the touchdown reception.

“I’ll never forget coach Dixie White, and he said, ‘Son, that’s how you change attitudes,'” Profit said. “You’ve got to win. That’s the most compelling success that I had. In that one play, it made all the difference in the world to me and my teammates and obviously to the fans that were there.”