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John Urschel To Publish Book About ‘A Life In Math & Football’ May 14

Former Penn State and Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman and current MIT doctoral candidate John Urschel’s book Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football will be released Tuesday, May 14.

Urschel’s book will explore his two passions — football and mathematics — and his journey within each discipline. The memoir is co-authored by New Yorker contributor and author Louisa Thomas and will be published by Penguin Random House.

Urschel also highlighted the book’s versatility with a pair of stellar Dodgeball and Anchorman references that proved in addition to being a mathematician and football player, he’s also a movie buff.

Urschel came to Penn State in 2009 and was one of many players who stayed with the team following the sanctions for the 2012 and 2013 seasons and helped preserve the program. He was drafted by the Ravens in 2014, but retired from the NFL in 2017 to focus on his career in mathematics.

Urschel also penned an editorial published in Saturday’s edition of the New York Times, titled “Math Teachers Should Be More Like Football Coaches, which echoed the book’s theme of connecting his studies and athletic success.

“[Students] benefit from specific instructions, constant feedback and a culture of learning that encourages resilience in the face of failure — not unlike a football practice,” he wrote. “All good teachers, like good coaches, communicate that they care about your goals.”

He gave a lecture of a similar sentiment at the Nittany Lion Inn last spring as part of the Penn State Forum lecture series.

Urschel will host a launch event for the book at the Boston Public Library Tuesday. You can preorder your copy of Mind and Matter here.

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.


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