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Sometimes the job one takes is preparation for the next step on the career path. That seems to be the case with Pete Ohnegian ’94. Without his years of playing football at Lafayette, he likely would not have competed in the Arena Football League and the short-lived XFL. Those experiences led to getting into movies and now running his own personal training company.

The American studies major credits his years at Lafayette, where both his father and sister attended, with preparing him in many ways for what he has accomplished professionally.

“The curriculum I took was an asset,” Ohnegian says. “Initially it was tough. I didn’t have that focus.”

Focus – as in film work — later became an interesting sideline for Ohnegian. After playing with the Miami Hooters of the Arena League, a former Leopard football player got him involved with the Super Bowl committee training volunteers for the game to be played at the Orange Bowl. At the same time, director Oliver Stone was casting for his movie Any Given Sunday. Ohnegian also appeared in The Replacements, and two of his commercials ran during later Super Bowls.

Arena football games occur on a shortened field with some different rules than the traditional American sport, but that didn’t bother Ohnegian.

“It was still football. It was a way to play beyond amateur,” he says. “Getting paid to play something you love was special. … You had to be in super shape.”

Being in super shape is what Ohnegian concentrates on now, but not merely for himself. In two years, he has taken Good Energy in Allendale, N.J, from a one-man operation to a business with three employees, a registered dietician, and close to 150 clients.

Courses taught by Donald L. Miller, MacCracken Professor of History, helped him to improve his skills in a roundtable discussion setting and one-to-one debates. He credits his term as treasurer for Phi Gamma Delta with helping him to run his own books. Coach Bob Heffner’s encouragement led him to pursue arena football, though it meant he missed his opportunity to walk on graduation day, playing his first professional game instead.

“The whole Lafayette experience has helped me with this,” he says. “Obviously football [but also] sociology, psychology.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles