December proved to be a successful month for Jake Ebner (’08), who celebrated his graduation from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business only 11 days before helping the UH Cougar football team claim its first bowl game win in more than two decades.
Ebner exemplifies the pride and school spirit found in many UH Bauer students, who are as comfortable in the classroom and boardroom as they are on the field. The balancing act was an easy one for Ebner, who majored in finance and marketing while playing fullback, offensive line and defensive line over five seasons for the Cougars.
“When you need to take care of business, you do it,” he said. “I put all of my effort into school and football. I want to succeed in everything that I do. (December) was like a grand finale. I ended on a great note with graduation and a bowl game win.”
Earlier in 2008, Ebner was named to the C-USA All-Academic Team and ESPN the magazine’s Academic All-District VI First Team. He was also one of 12 C-USA student athletes chosen to receive the 2008 C-USA Spirit of Service Award for his work at the Texas Children’s Hospital and with other community projects.
Ebner used that drive and determination to help the Cougars secure a victory against Air Force in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31, the first bowl game win for UH since 1980. “It was great to win the first one in a long time,” Ebner said. “It was important for us seniors, but it was great for the school and the fans, too.”
The Cougars had fallen to Air Force earlier in the season, and the rematch served as a form of redemption for the team. “It’s not often you get to go back and take care of something you should have taken care of to begin with,” Ebner said. “It was good to settle the loss by itself, but the bowl game was more important.”
Also important to Ebner was the decision to attend UH, where both his mother, Elaine Ebner (BS ’82), and father, Thomas Ebner (BBA ’80), earned degrees. Ebner’s father also played for the Cougars from 1977 to 1979. His parents also recognize the importance of giving back to their alma mater and are founding members of the Bauer Circle of Honor, which recognizes alumni and friends who gift $10,000 or more to the college.
That sense of philanthropy has likely been passed on to their son, who said he is thankful that he had the opportunity to fine tune his time management and networking skills during his time at UH Bauer, both on and off the field.
“When you’re done with school, you see it from a completely different perspective,” Ebner said. “The last few years I was at Bauer, I was a completely different student from when I entered.”
By Hannah Eastham