Alumni Feature - Greg Petty '15

Many had their doubts about how volleyball would take him anywhere, but with the support of his coaches, professors and friends Greg proved just how vital a role the sport would play in his life.

“It’s been an absolute dream come true,” says Greg. “Dan Friend definitely impacted my life in a big way. He helped me grow as a person and a player. Even though we ran through a rough patch in my younger years at school we are still friends to this day. Now, I am basically getting paid to travel the world and you definitely can’t beat that.”

Following older brother Jay’s footsteps, Greg came to Lewis with two goals in mind: play volleyball and get a degree. Little did he know he would end up doing much more.

Greg Petty grew up in Downers Grove, IL. In 2015 he graduated from Lewis with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics and a minor in math. As a kid he was a huge sports enthusiast, trying out every sport he could, finally he found his calling with volleyball. Volleyball turned into his ticket around the world.

Shortly after graduating from Lewis he began playing professional volleyball in Finland. Then he went on to play in Greece, and most recently, France. Out of the seven continents in the world, Greg has had the opportunity to play on four of them. Life abroad has been life-changing for him, and he happily embraces all that he has learned on his journey. Moving from country to country has taught him how to be independent and learn to socialize and network with people. These opportunities wouldn't have been possible if not for his time at Lewis.

“Learning some of each of the languages and the cultures is an experience I won’t ever forget. It is an invaluable lesson I think I learn from each place I go. It all started with my days as a Flyer.”

Looking back at his years at Lewis, it was mostly spent at the gym or in the science building. Being a part of the volleyball team kept him busy, on top of that, being a physics major meant lots of time experimenting and researching. As busy as he was, Greg still found time to participate in the Lewis community and share his passion for sports with other athletes.

The opportunities and challenges of being a student-athlete allowed him to grow into the person he is today. However, that growth doesn't happen overnight and was not without the help and guidance from his great coaches and professors. Coach Dan Friend was a huge inspiration to Greg throughout his journey at Lewis. Friend was more than just a coach to Greg, he was his friend and his advocate.

The support that Greg received from coaches, professors and friends at Lewis led him to his dream job. It has also given him the opportunity to inspire other young athletes who have dreams of going on to play their sport professionally. Reflecting on his newfound stardom, Greg says, “The best part of my job is the fact that it doesn't feel like a job. I get to go day in and day out playing a game that I love and that has given me so much. Along with that, interacting with fans is a lot of fun. Sometimes it is hard because you may be tired or just don't want to talk but, being that person that some kids look up to and being a slight celebrity with people cheering for you is a pretty cool feeling.”

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